Monday, 30 November 2009

Then it Must be True

The subject of alternative medicine arose with my Algerian group today. Most had not heard of acupuncture or aromatherapy, and this is no great loss if you ask me, but they all extolled the benefits of cupping. In my ignorance, I thought this practice had been ditched somewhere around the time when the phlogiston theory of combustion went out of favour, but the students put me right. It draws out bad blood, they said, and is of especial benefit at full moon. It’s scientifically proven by the United States Institute for Proving Stuff and anyway, the Prophet (PBUH) says it works, so there’s an end of it.

I found this on a ‘Muslim health’ website this evening: ‘70% of diseases, pains and ailments are due to the blood being unable to reach certain parts of the body. Dry cupping (hijama) and dry massaging cupping allow the blood to reach these places.’ I don’t know where the 70% figure comes from. Maybe that is in the Quran as well. Also, 50% of people with high blood pressure will benefit from cupping performed on a Tuesday, while type 2 diabetics are better dressed and should take up an offer coming their way midweek.

Cupping draweth ill humours from the bodie; it putteth away ſlothe and ſuch ills as proceed of moiſt and windie cauſes. It afrighteth boggarts, and layeth ghoſtes of them that die in childe bed. It is of merveylous benefit to the ſhins, likewiſe to the great toe.

Arabic is the World’s Most Difficult Language, a Libyan student told me. I started to point out the very, very bloody obvious fact that difficulty in language learning is in the eye of the beholder. Oh, for fuck’s sake, it doesn’t take a genius… if the language you purpose to learn is very similar to your own, you are probably going to find it easier than one that is very different. Many a Chinese student has enrolled for three months in a British language school and worked his bollocks off, only to find that he has made less progress at the end of his stay than the little clique of Poles in the same class who spent the three months merely arsing about. When someone comes up with the ‘mine is the most difficult language’ rubbish, I usually suggest they have a go at learning Inuktitut, whilst struggling to bear in mind that any native speaker of that tongue finds it as easy as breathing. I didn’t get that far today. With Naima looking on and nodding approval, Abdulkarim insisted that this was not merely his opinion: it was in the Quran. Once again, there was an end of it.

When I got home I flopped in front of the computer and pulled up You Tube. Someone at You Tube must have known what sort of a day I’d had. Among the videos recommended for me was the one below, the first of two, in which Matt Dillahunty of The Atheist Experience attempts, with slowly dwindling patience, to get a sincere but uncomplicated Christian lady to justify her beliefs. She simply doesn’t understand what he's driving at, and states and restates that she believes because she believes. In the end he pulls the plug on her, something I cannot do with my students. I just have to smile and think ‘don’t get involved’. 

I would not show such forbearance with a Christian student. A Christian would at least be used to disagreement and have a few counter arguments rehearsed. Much as I would like to call overseas Muslim students out on their blind obedience to the Quran now and again, I can't, or they will simply complain that they are being attacked and disrespected, and probably take their custom elsewhere. The university would not be at all pleased about that.

You might like to read The Heresiarch here A quote: 'Karen Armstrong... is as unshakeably certain that God is "compassion" as any Taliban commander is convinced that God wants to stone adulterers. She is just as convinced as he is that God agrees with her point of view.'


Mediterranean kiwi said...

how on earth does britian allow such politically incorrect people to enter the country?

vilges suola said...

Well, thank God they do - we don't want New Labour attempting to regulate people's beliefs about health and language. Don't give them ideas!

The TEFL Tradesman said...

Just tell them that they, as citizens from a country that promotes slavish adherence to a primitive and illogical faith, are doomed to political autocracy, economic lethargy, and social backwardness.

And that we, as citizens of Europe, are children of the scientific revolution and rationalism, and can look forward to dynamic social, political and economic institutions.

Or something like that - they'll soon get your drift.


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