Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Religion Is For Idiots?

These days the cry is getting louder and louder, given amplification by the scientific voices of the 21st century, that religion is for idiots. Each age has harboured such heralds, but these people have become leaders and their cries have become chants which are spoken as fact.

Richard Dawkins, David Attenborough, Steven Hawkins and many other popular and well known faces of science, vehemently affirm that an intelligent mind would not believe in the fairytale of God. They strive to look at the world and see the absence of God. They look to not see it, so of course they miss it.

They don’t have open minds, so their findings will always be flawed. If you are not open to the possibility that there could be a God, then you haven’t disproved their being one, you’ve ignored it.

They are in the business of God Refusion.

They work tirelessly to provide alternatives, why?

‘For modern day life requires it. We cannot continue to engage in time gone practices and beliefs.’

‘Why? Has man changed? Has yesterdays truth become a lie today?’

‘Modern day people are too intellectually evolved and enlightened to keep perpetuating the myth of God.’

‘Why? What do we now know that answers the fundamental questions and mysteries of life?’

The answer is: NOTHING!

Nothing has been ventured by science which answers the fundamental. All we have is more description of process and details of life. But we are being taught and forced into thinking that we do have concrete answers and explanations which you would believe in if you were not stupid.

Why is it being said that religion is the easy way out? Why is there a demonisation of believers? Why is it being said that a thinking mind will birth an atheist belief?

I have an intellectual belief in God and my Religion.

You could too, if you were able to dissect, explore and expand upon notions and processes of thinking. In order to do so however you must leave aside your prejudice, preconceptions and ego. You have to have an open mind which will lead you to the truth and then allow you to accept it. It seems that these days, over complication is the disease which is taking us from the truth.

I want to discuss just a few thinking processes, theories and signs, to clarify why i have said all of the above.

First of all I want to look at Logic. This has been hijacked by atheist science, and is used to retort all that a person of faith may say.

‘WELL LOGICALLY THAT MAKES NO SENSE!!!’

Right, so let us explore that. If you want to clutch onto logic, then you should apply it to its fullest extent. Let us apply it to the theories science has offered to explain how life began. That is where logic must first be applied.

The first explanation we are given, the one most unanimously agreed upon, is the ‘Big Bang Theory’.

(no, not that one. the other one)

The suggestion that an explosion which caused destruction and chaos, also caused the formation of our planet and solar system, a structure which is perfect in every aspect.

So what is being said is an explosion caused perfection. That is logical to you? A RANDOM collision, which was not ordered or guided, just occurred RANDOMLY, between rock and matter, along with RANDOMLY PERFECT amounts of heat, gases and forces, which all RANDOMLY were present at that moment, created perfection. Right!

(isnt that how it normally goes?)

So if I put all the components of a watch into a sealed container, fed heat and energy into it, and had it mechanically oscillate, rotate and crash the contents together, then I could expect a fully formed Rolex to be produced?

If the process is repeated a million times over, would you believe that could happen? Yet you would believe in that process being responsible for the creation of the planet you walk upon.

A planet, which sits at a degree perfect placement to the Sun. A degree closer or farther from the Sun, and Earth would not be inhabitable for life. Such PERFECTION from a RANDOM COLLISION. Where else has science ever proved such randomness to create such perfection? Where else can you see perfection being born from destruction?

Think of all the collisions you can conjure up, is there ANYTHING in it that can be predicted? Is there any aspect of it which is controlled? Has it ever produced anything but anarchy of matter?

The same intellectual ludicrousness is expected of you when science tries to explain how human life has come to be. Evolution.

(no, not that one)

(this one!)

The less spoken part of the Evolution Theory is that the whole thing was caused by Random Mutation. You’ll hear lecturers talk about that aspect for a minute, then drone on for hours about what came after. But again, I ask you to apply simple logic to it. Would you believe that a RANDOM genetic mutation could occur in today’s age and lead to the X-Men characters conjured by Marvel?

Because that is exactly what you are accepting by believing in the Evolution theory. That by chance, just one day, for no reason, purely randomly, a mutation occurred which led to a process of an extremely complicated higher life form being produced.

A mutation, a random mutation, created an infinitely, intricately, complicated creation. Cancer is caused by mutation, and it caused death and destruction of organisms. But this one. This one created life. Right!

A kind of mutation still not seen, in the millions of years since life has said to have been on Earth. Millions of years on, we still have not seen it manifest itself. But it occurred, randomly, and we have to thank it, for that is why we are here? If a student were to use random mutation to justify a theory that one day elephants will be able to walk on water, the thesis would be mocked and discarded, rightly so. But we can accept that a cell within an ape mutated and lead to a human. Right!

The Theory of Evolution and the Big Bang, rely upon heavy explanation of process rather than focusing upon what initiated the process. I could believe in the process, but not without believing that it was guided and controlled by a supreme hand, which had the supreme power to cause it.

Limitations plague all of Creation. All that lives was created. Man is the product of Creation, not of Process. So as limited beings you can only make that which is inferior in its capabilities than you. You cannot produce that which is superior in organic, physical and energy properties than you possess.

It is only logical that a Supreme Body, which due to its Higher Capabilities was the one that created, guided and initiated it all. For that is true in every other aspect of life that we accept. So why is it not accepted there.

You would NEVER believe that a baby could wash the dishes, mow the lawn, tidy the house and balance your cheque book. You would NEVER accept that a koala bear could create a mobile phone. You would NEVER accept that the most powerful and sophisticated technology created a horse foal. Because you can see the limitation all of those things have and you can see how they could never make something that is beyond their capability. So how did non living, simple structured organisms and inanimate forces create the vast complexities of LIFE?! Of Humans and Earth, and all that it carries?!

Science cannot answer the tough aspect of Creation. The Beginning. Yes, you can plant a seed for it to grow into a tree. You can incubate an egg to hatch a chicken, but can we create an egg or a seed? Can we put cells, blood and tissues together and create a human? No. The secret of life, the secret of the beginnings of all organisms is still a secret, which is irreproducible.


So I want to ask you, who is more stupid? The one who spends their life discussing process when their foundation is flawed? Or the one who is able to see the truth from simple facts?

Apply all the laws, theories and beliefs of modern science, (when it comes to explaining life), to everyday situations and you’ll laugh at what your being asked to believe, yet you believe they when it comes to the most crucial aspect of your existence.

If you know who made you and how, then you can go on to answering the why and what now.

So religion is not for idiots. It is for the smart.

 

Your Thoughts?

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

 

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The Iron Lady

 

The Iron Lady proves to be another triumph for British Cinema.  Following the success of ‘The King’s Speech’, we are offered another helping of British cinematic sumptuousness.

Brought to us by the UK Film Council, Film 4 and Canal+. Director Phyllida Lloyd, attempts to portray the life of the longest serving Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Margaret Thatcher.

 

With a stellar cast, which includes Academy Award Winners, Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, as well as fresh blood to the big screen, Harry Lloyd and Alexandra Roach.

The motion picture has become a Box Office success and a hit with the Critics. Oscar buzz engulfs the movie and its Star, Meryl Streep, has already  garnered multiple nominations and most notably, a win at the Golden Globe Awards and an Academy Award nomination.

In Thatcher’s 11.5 years in office, she became a controversial figure who divided a nation and government.  The movie also explores her stance against terrorism, sexism, class discrimination in politics as well as aspects of her personal life as a wife and mother.

Beautifully directed, the story unravels cleverly with masterful skill. Alternating between an aged Thatcher, who is seen struggling with the onset of Dementia, being tended to by a carer and her daughter, haunted by the presence of her deceased husband, struggling to keep a grip on her most prized possession, the fecundity of her mind.

We then are introduced to a young Margaret, played expertly by Roach. Here we become privy to the beginnings of what brought her into the world of politics. Eager to embody the inspiring words of her father and desperate to avoid the domestic life of her mother. Shunning criticism and working steadily through education and professional ranks, she dives headfirst into governmental representation.

We see how she met a young Dennis Thatcher, in him finding an understanding and supportive man, who would stand by his ambitious wife throughout his life. Here we become privy to the a close but often strained relationship between the two, impacted heavily by Margaret’s desire to lead Great Britain by the values she holds as gospel.

In the film there are a host of powerful scenes to which we are treated. A generous helping of powerful performances by Streep, that let us into mind and character of Thatcher. Sizzling displays, of Thatcher’s razor sharp wit, capable of splitting hairs. As well as poignant, melancholy moments, which humanise the Iron Lady herself.

 

However, beyond the superb Motion Picture, there lies a deeper story. One of the weight of responsibility, the power of the human spirit and the test it is, to stand by one’s principles.

Political figures, like all Celebrities, are somehow dehumanised by the general public. Definite labels are attached to them, opinions become are not tempered by humanitarian concern and violent emotions often are aroused. Margaret Thatcher was very much the marmite of politics. To an extent all public figures are, but never was this so true than with Thatcher. Some herald her as a thankless Hero, others as an obstinate, out dated, harpie.

However you view her, there are facts that cannot be denied.

She was largely accredited for; reviving a sluggish post war economy, safe guarding British sovereignty and currency from European proposals, playing a central role to ending the East/West divide and becoming the first lower middle class Conservative party leader/

I did not grow up in the 80’s. I did not have to live under her government. Retrospect is a funny friend.

However, I admire and applaud anyone who stands on principle. Who is able to absorb hatred and criticism, to do what is right. That is a leader. Thatcher, no doubt made many mistakes, was deficient in areas of her governance, but someone had to control the beast and tame it, then drive it to greener pastures.

The beast will hate you, struggle to understand your actions, it may even fight you, yet ultimately it will be glad once it is grazing.

Thatcher made a memorable speech when assuming office, calling it the ‘greatest honour’ and ‘responsibility’. Thatcher said she would ‘strive unceasingly, for ‘the things in which I believe.’ She did. Famously sleeping on no more than four or five hours daily. The core of her being was hard work, self reliance, doing rather than talking and adhering to principle. These are the values and qualities which when embodied in citizens, creates a great nation and society. This is what, perhaps rather unmercifully, she bulldozed to achieve.

‘You don’t grow richer by ordering another cheque book’, 1983 Conservative Press Conference Party conference. She knew how to make a pound stretch, she utilised the lessons she learned growing up as a working class woman, into economic policy making. Perhaps these are the reasons why Thatcher was uncooperative with Unions, whom she felt, were trying to hold the country ransom for personal gains, rather than encouraging their members to work hard in order to produce results. As she had worked in order to live, and expected others to as well.

One of the most controversial points in her career was the battle of the Falklands Islands. Thatcher was staunch in her stance to fight for the Islands, that they belong to the UK, and would so again, despite loses to the British Armed Forces. Eventually the operation for domination became a success for the UK, and a level of patriotism, unseen in a long time, was ignited across the country. In this situation, once again, Thatcher showed an unwillingness to bend or cave. This resulted in a renewal of her popularity. She quite famously said to Frost, when questioned about the sinking of the Argentine ship, the Belgrano, ‘I know it was right to sink her, I would do the same again’.

 

Thatcher proved she was not afraid of making difficult decisions, all the time realising the weight that came with doing so. Self assurance is something she exuded, and rightly so. Some called it stubbornness, but those with firm values often are described so.

 

‘Many are waiting for the U-Turn. I have only one thing to say. You turn if you want to. The lady’s not for turning.’ (1981 Conservative Party Conference)

‘One’s life must matter’, is a quote from the film script. Thatcher’s did. I wonder how many of us can say the same. She was driven to be more than a housewife, instead she became one of the biggest political icons of the 20th century. She came from a working class family to assume the highest office the country could bestow. For that I respect her. For that I love the Motion Picture and for that I felt compelled to write this Blog.

 

Yours Truly

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Help: A Book & Movie Review

An International Bestseller. A Motion Picture. A moving, gut wrenching, gritty tale of racial prejudice, social hypocrisy and the freedom that only speaking the truth can provide.

This is my Review of ‘The Help’, novel and movie.

Kathryn Stockett, author of ‘The Help, was born and raised in Jackson, Mississippi. In the deep south of North America. She graduated from the University of Alabama, moved to New York City, where she worked in magazine publishing and marketing for nine years.  ‘The Help’ is her debut novel, her magnum opus and epic struggle in one. It took her five years to complete and 60 rejections to get past, until it saw the light of literary published day.

Once it did, it had no desire to sit blinking in the sunlight, it soared sky-high, and has sold in excess five million copies worldwide, spending more than 100 weeks on The New York Times Best Seller List.

The book is set in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960’s. A period where racial tension is rampant.

The novel is narrated by Aibileen, Minny and Miss Skeeter, two black maids and the latter, a white writer for a local rag. Three women who band together to tell a gripping story, infused with comedy, camaraderie and sadness.

 The novel weaves tense chapters together, where the reader is locked in suspense and horror at the events which unfold, alternating between its narrators. There is an overwhelming feeling of sadness, which cuts deep within anyone who reads the accounts of Aibileen and Minny. Both of whom explore the degradation they endure, of having to love and lost. Of raising white children, and then having to see the products of their affection grow to be people they can never love again like they once did.

Poignant observations of a time that is still classed as recent history, shocking details about the history of the U.S.A. The book is serious, it has an important message to impart. It is infused with bittersweet humour, beautiful bonds of friendship, a masterful exhibition of Southern culture, food and lifestyle.

In the novel Miss Skeeter eventually finds the injustice around her to be stifling. She has a desire to uncover the truth, the truth of what happened to her own childhood Nanny, of what truly is driving racial legislation, to pick at the hypocrisy of the world she is a part of.

Miss Skeeter is Kathryn Stockett. For she, through her novel, was able to relate the tale of her childhood, of the place she called home, of relationships she had with Black people and of events she witnessed.

The Help is an ode to the Truth.

The Movie however loses all the seriousness and impact of the book. It became a sad attempt at Oscar Gold, and in that bid, failed to capture the mood of the novel.

Minny became a stereotypical sassy black woman, serving to add humour to the movie, with copious amounts of ”umhmm’s” and hand-on-hip posturing.

Lost, was the struggle of Minny. A fierce woman battling with domestic abuse, working hard to raise her children and holding her head high in a world which would rather see it bowed in servitude. Of a woman who was tired of being strong, but would be daily, to hold back the oncoming dark.

Aibileen was portrayed best of all. Which is purely thanks to the acting ability of Viola Davis. The scenes she had, she did well. She was able to express the core of her character, in capturing the quiet strength and determination of Aibileen. However, even here Producer/Director Tate Taylor seemed afraid to present the Aibileen of the novel. Never getting further than allowing Davis to express more than just a veneer like layer of her story.

The relationship between Skeeter, Aibileen and Minny was lost in Hollywood Translation. The brutality of the period was glossed over, in an attempt to keep the movie heartwarming rather than thought provoking.

The relationship between Skeeter, Aibilieen and Minny was never described within the book as friendly and joyful, but the movie made it reminiscent of scenes from Sex in the City.

Stockett handed Producer/Director reigns to Tate Taylor, a friend. Unfortunately he failed, for me, to capture the novel. This is epidemic of most book to movie ventures, but in this case it was unforgivable. A tale, which could have translated into a powerful display on the big screen, became a soppy, trite and cliché Drama. No doubt which will be passed over by Critics, Awarding Bodies and the memories of the general public.

Hopefully someone with more grim determination and ability to face the dark of human nature, will remake this movie and deliver to us, an expression worthy of the amazing literary work, that is, The Help.

 

Your Thoughts?

Zishaan ‘ZuZu’ Shafi