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Archive for Thursday, December 28, 2006

Let’s celebrate

December 28, 2006

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To the editor:

Some holiday thoughts:

Let observant Christians celebrate their holy days and festivals: Christmas, Easter, etc. - wonderful choral music.

Let observant Muslims celebrate their holy days and festivals: Ramadan, Eid Al-Adhha, etc.

Let the observant Hindus celebrate their holy days and festivals: Diwali, Durga Puja - which you should experience in Calcutta (Kolkata) - etc.

Let observant Jews celebrate their holy days and festivals: Rosh Hashanah, Yom Kippur, Hanukkah, etc.

Let observant Buddhists celebrate their holy days and festivals: Visakah Puja, Asalha Puja Day, etc.

Let observant Wiccans celebrate their holy days and festivals: Lammas Eve, August Eve, etc.

Let agnostics and atheists and all others celebrate their own special times in their own ways.

And let us all celebrate the New Year and the freedom of religion guaranteed to us by in the Founding Fathers of this nation in the Declaration of Independence and in the Constitution.

Howard J. Baumgartel,

Lawrence

Comments

classclown 7 years, 8 months ago

psssst.... Howard.... pssssst....

Didn't you get the note? Your supposed to be tolerant of all of those but the top one.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Before you all get started, no, I'm not a christian. Not religious at all.

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sublime 7 years, 8 months ago

"Before you all get started, no, I'm not a christian. Not religious at all."

As if being a Christian is a bad thing?People seem to be so quik to attack Christians.Why not attack,Muslims,Hindus,Buddhist,atheistss,or Wiccans??I never hear anyone spew venomous comments about any of them.Everyone claims to be so big on"CHOICE"when it comes to abortion and being homosexual...........So how about some respect for those who make a choice to give thier heart and soul to Jesus Christ.Those that have made a choice to spend eternity with our heavenly father.

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Confrontation 7 years, 8 months ago

Sublime: Have you been living in a cave since Sept. 11th, 2001? Muslims are constantly attacked, especially by your beloved Christians. Not too long after Sept. 11th, a local church even delivered a hate message on a local cable channel. They had some moron preaching about the evils of Islam and Muslims. Yeah, you must have been in a cave.

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

Confrontation - there's wacko's in every group. Look at Fred Phelps. He's supposedly a christian who hates other christians.....

I do agree that Muslims are discriminated against, but not by our government. That is individuals doing that.

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pagan_idolator 7 years, 8 months ago

Cant speak for Wiccans everywhere sublime but I happen to be a practicing one who doesn't attack Christians. Yes I know some of them do it and its wrong. However I think you need to acknowledge that plenty of Christians spew hate and intolerance about other religions as well. I, myself, have had more than one in my face, screaming that I worshipped the devil and was going to hell. I think its important to keep in mind that its not necessarily the religion but the a$$hole thats using it as a weapon. Whether they be Christian, Muslim, Wiccan, Buddhist, or Flying Spaghetti Monster. Some folks are just jerks and thats all there is to it.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 8 months ago

Well said pagan_idolator. And those who spew the hate always get the headlines!

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Confrontation 7 years, 8 months ago

imastinker: I definitely agree with you. I just find it absolutely crazy that someone would claim that only Christians are being attacked.

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

Logicsound -

Christians are not FORCED to convert other people - at least no major groups do. Some denominations encourage vocal displays of faith and are very vocal about encouraging others to join. The belief is that they are doing other people a favor by doing so.

The Catholic church (which I am a member of) encourages what we call "evangelization by example." This means that we live our life as good christians and when people see how happy we are, they ask us and we tell them. We do not solicit new members like other denominations do.

The state should not have a state church, but seperation of church and state is not meant to be taken to the extremes that they are. The thing up in Seattle with the airport being threatened to be sued because they did not have a menora on display with the christmas display was more than seperation of church and state. Removing the choral music from KU is taking it too far as well. That was part of the letter unless you missed it.

As far as FORCING others to believe - that has not really been practiced by any western religions since the middle ages and colonial times. The muslims are called on to do this however.

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badger 7 years, 8 months ago

Only Christians get picked on?

Yeah, I find that a little ironic too. I spend a decent bit of time defending Christianity, because as I left it on good terms I don't feel inclined to listen to people trash it. However, I spend far more time defending other faiths.

The primary difference? When I stick up for Christians being attacked by nonChristians, the mere having of pro-Christianity sentiments isn't a reason to 'taint' me with supporting them. Most of the nonChristians I know don't talk about religion at work - or someone else's work. They wouldn't put a gas station clerk or a waiter or a bus driver in the position of having to listen to dissertations on 'those people' with no recourse for saying, "I don't want to hear your hate and bigotry." They don't just assume their audience shares their faith. And generally, when you tell a nonChristian that you're not interested in hearing what's wrong with Christians, they shut up. They may keep those feelings, but they stop acting as if having those opinions somehow justifies them in forcibly administering them to unwilling strangers even after they've been asked personally to cut it out.

The Christians I've encountered spouting off about nonChristians seem to think that their status as a majority religion entitles them to share their opinions with the world. Try being told by your boss, who doesn't know you're pagan, about some guy she got rid of in a layoff a couple of years ago as 'not a good fit' because she found out he was a Buddhist. Try going to a job interview where your prospective boss talks about 'the right kind of moral values' and has a crucifix above his desk. Try sitting through a client meeting in which the client asks that everyone 'start off with a little prayer' and launches into a five-minute anti-gay anti-abortion brimstone binge, and you have to listen to it because you're a contract employee, not even really employed by the company, and your contract can be ended if you so much as say later, "I was uncomfortable in the meeting this morning."

I don't resent Christians the least bit for being able to carry a Bible in public or mention to a co-worker that somethng funny happened in church last week or go to work with ash on their foreheads once a year. I think it's great that they can so publicly acknowledge their faith. What I do resent is when, like sublime and classclown here, they insist that they are somehow being bullied, marginalized, and shoved aside by the other faiths, that they alone bear the brunt of religious intolerance in this country, that all the other faiths are respected as choices but Christianity isn't.

It's ridiculous and laughable.

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badger 7 years, 8 months ago

imastinker:

Muslims are not in fact 'called on' to force others to believe. That's yet another piece of disinformation you've been fed.

Just as evangelism is encouraged for some Christians, and some Christian sects encourage fairly aggressive missionary and evangelical work (and some groups in the past have blessed the work of people who, say, killed abortion doctors or plotted to bomb clinics), some of the more radical Muslim sects do support forced conversion. But the overwhelming mass of people who practice Islam believe, just as you do, in conversion by example, that living a good Muslim life and showing how happy and content you are is the best way to convert others.

This 'conversion by the sword' Desert Warriors of Islam nonsense is just propaganda, every bit as much as logicsound's "Christians forcibly convert people" is. It's not truth.

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

Badger - I really have no idea about Muslims. I don't know any at all.

What I do know is that every day in the newspaper there is another story of a nut who strapped a bomb to himself and killed a bunch of people. I can't remember the last time a christian nut bombed an abortion clinic, but I think it was at least ten years ago.

I just know what I see. It does seem that Muslims are more tolerant of their nuts than christians are of theirs. Again, that is just an observation.

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Danielle Brunin 7 years, 8 months ago

imastinker,

Muslims get a lot of bad press and some of it is well-deserved. However, the vast majority of Muslims detest the violence that has infected the religion. The good things that Muslims (and Christians, Jews, pagans, etc.) do are often ignored in the media because it doesn't make as good of a story as some Islamist getting arrested for plotting to blow a bridge, or a Christian blowing up an abortion clinic. For example, the Crescent Peace Society of Kansas City has a celebration every year promoting peace and there are rabbis, priests, ministers, and people from all walks of life, but you never hear about that on the news. Also, after the terrorist attack in Sharm el Sheikh, Egypt and Amman, Jordan, Muslims marched condemning violence in the name of Islam, but alas, that was ignored too.

In Islam, as is often the case in Christianity, the more conservative groups will oppose the tactics, but sympathize with the cause. Example: A Muslim will condemn a suicide bombing of an Israeli bus, but then say, "but they shouldn't be killing Palestinians, " just as conservative Christians might oppose the bombing of an abortion clinic but say, "well, but they shouldn't be killing innocent babies." This is about the same level of tolerance I would say, but it in no way reflects the views of the mainstream Christian or Muslim. Sorry for the long post...

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badger 7 years, 8 months ago

logicsound:

Go back. Reread. Then hop off the soapbox, k?

You missed the point entirely. If you reread the parts where I used words like 'ironic' or 'ridiculous' or 'laughable', and the part you cited, where I gave examples of times when Christians felt it was perfectly OK to attack and trash non-Christians, and you still don't get what I'm trying to say, try the small-words version:

People should be able to practice whatever they darn skippy feel like without anyone looking at them funny. I think that a boss telling me about firing a Buddhist isn't 'coercing' me to be a Christian, it's someone assuming that just because Christianity is the dominant paradigm (OK, it's only the sort-of small words version. Cope) that discrimination will be considered reasonable. There was never a thought in her head that I'm anything other than a good Christian. There never is in anyone's. You'd all walk past me on the street and never know. People think I'm Pentecostal a lot, actually. She wasn't saying, "Best let badger know this department only hires Christians." She was saying, "Can you believe you almost had to work with one of them? You're lucky I'm looking out for you." It was cameraderie, which is, if you stop for a tenth of a second to think about how prevalent a prejudice must be if an employer assumes it in employees, worse than simple prejudice.

They don't think that they're talking to nonChristians. They never do, unless you put on a pentacle and a "Never again the Burning Times" T-shirt and start burning sage at them. To be coercive, to be pressuring me, they'd have to stop for a second and consider that just because I look like them, I am not necessarily like them.

Kthxbai.

imastinker said:

"I really have no idea about Muslims. I don't know any at all."

Then please, get to know some. Seriously, before you start talking about what muslims are or are not 'called upon' to do, learn more about the actual faith. Perhaps it's been a few years since anyone in this country bombed a clinic or shot a doctor, but it's been less than a year since I read about the last time a Christian community burned a witch in Uganda. Sure, it's not happening in the Western world, but not all Christians live in the Western world. Regional politics, in which religion has been used as a convenient whip and motivational tool, have a lot more to do with people blowing themselves up than the Koran ever did or will.

Lawrence has an Islamic studies center. Go there, and tell them that you've never met a muslim and you'd like to learn the basic true facts about their faith. I'm sure they'll be happy to explain to you why someone might call it 'Islam' when he straps a suicide bomb to his chest, far better than I can here. You can explain to them why the Christians don't stop the Phelpses and the Randall Terrys of the world, and they can explain to you why they don't stop suicide bombers.

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craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

Thanks badger, I got a good laugh out of the small words portion of your post.

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 8 months ago

Just an interesting aside. I teach about the Catholic religion because most Spanish-speaking countries are mostly Catholic. I'm not Catholic, so I can't be accused of pushing a religion; it's just culture. Every year one of the 6th graders says something along this line: "Catholics aren't Christians." I'm not sure if this is just their inexperience or if someone is teaching them this. I then tell them that if you were a Christian 700 years ago, in Europe, you were Catholic, then give a brief history of the Reformation. I was raised in a Methodist church, but don't remember ever not knowing that Catholics are Christians.

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J Good Good 7 years, 8 months ago

They are being taught that Catholics are not Christian because Catholics aren't "born again". No one who is not born again is Christian in their view - going to hell. I'll be there too according to the fundamentalists.....

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

I've heard that too regarding being born again. It's a personal pet peeve of mine when people ask if I've been saved. I'm not even sure I know what that means, but then again, I'm not sure many of those people do either if they think an event that happens once can dictate whether they get to heaven, regardless of the way they live the rest of their life.

Anyway....

Logicsound -

1) Intelligent design probably shouldn't be in the classroom. It is not the same as creationism, and you and I ahve had this discussion before. The standards set by the BOE said that ID was basically evolution guided by God. I think it was a bit misguided to put it in there. I'll teach my kids about these thigns at home.

2) We have discussed this too. ProLifers believe that is a baby - albeit unborn. If that is a baby, then it has certian unalienable rights guaranteed by the constitution. This is not abotu forcing anyting on someone, but protecting the innocent. I know you don't agree - but you should be able to see that this is not about forcing religion on anyone. A hundred and fifty years ago there was a large part of society that felt that blacks were more like animals than people and were not afforded the same protections as they were. These are the same in my opinion.

3) I am aware or people that have fought to not have the ten commandments taken from all purlic institutions, but not anybody that cleims that they should be there where they are not now.

4) I am not aware of this.

5) I agree - but everyting is very political when it comes to these things.

6) Are you saying missionaries should not go to other countries to help?

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

Rodentgirl -

I'm sure there are all kinds of good muslims. I wasn't saying that. I just knwo what I see int he papers, and I can't figure out why these extremists are not run out of town by the majority if the majority disagrees with them.

I do not think that bombing an abortion clinic is any better than bombing say an orphanage or a church. It's wrong no matter how you look at it.

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badger 7 years, 8 months ago

No problem, craigers, I live to amuse.

imastinker?

The answer to "Why doesn't the majority run them out of town if the majority disagrees with them?" can be found in another question:

Why has no one associated with any branch of the Baptist Church asked Fred Phelps to stop calling himself one?

People, sometimes, don't have the courage to stand up to their own wingnut philosophical or spiritual minorities. In the pagan community, I find myself looking at those who use magic to hurt other people and wanting to turn away, to let someone else deal with it. Sometimes my conscience wins and I say something. Sometimes my self-preservation wins and I keep on walking. But I think the vast majority of people of faith do far less than they could to pull the fangs of the snakes in their midst.

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craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

jg and imastinker, you should read John chapter 3. The Christians that you speak of, I am one, that say you must be born again aren't saying this on their own account. The words came from the mouth of Jesus Christ. John 3:3 "I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again." Then he goes on to explain the born again event. We have all been born of the flesh or of water when we came from our mothers. The born again event is about being born of the spirit. We must be born again and let Christ come into our hearts. II Cor 5:17 tells us that any man is in Christ he is a new creature. Both sets of scripture show that we must have a new beginning and that is the born again event. This is when Christ comes into our heart and we have a spiritual rebirth, where we receive Christ and are sins are forgiven. Without this, our sins are not forgiven.

imastinker, I also want to say I completely agree with you on those that will tell you that you must be born again and then live their lives however they want. The whole point of being born again/saved is that you allow Christ to live in you and you won't live your life like sinners. Paul addresses your concerns in multiple sections of the new testament when speaking about God's grace and how it is not a liscense to sin like some Christians believe it is. As it is written in Galatians 6 "Be not deceived, God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows that he shall also reap." Our lives produce what we sow. When you continually sow a life of sin, whether you have the knowledge of the born again experience or not, you will reap corruption just like Paul is stating in that chapter.

Hopefully that helps you understand the born again process and that Jesus is the one that said that message, and we have the opportunity to serve Him and share that message.

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imastinker 7 years, 8 months ago

Being born again sounds a lot like a Baptism. I had one of those.

Is that what people mean?

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 8 months ago

So, craigers, do you believe if a Catholic isn't "born again" he/she is not a Christian? What about confession when they admit their sins and are forgiven. It sounds like they are born again more often than many denominations. I know plenty of Christians who are good people, but I also know those who think once they are "born again" everything they do is forgiven, so it's ok. When I taught High School, one of the students said that it a youth leader told them it was ok to go out and get drunk and party, even though they were underaged, since they were "born again" and Jesus would forgive them. Of course the student could have been using selective memory.

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craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

dorothyhr, I believe that if anybody isn't born again, they are not a Christian. People were first called Christians because they acted like their faith in Christ told them to act, Christ-like. This is noted in the book of acts. Confession is another thing. Confession is to ask for forgiveness for your sins and that is all and good, but if you aren't born again then Christ says you will not see the kingdom of heaven. That being said, in the book of Psalms it states that the prayers of an unbeliever are detestable to God and He doesn't even hear their prayers. So if you aren't born again, then all the actions of saying you are sorry for your sins don't mean a thing. And you can be a great person at heart, but if you have not been born again Christ says you will not go to heaven.

As for that student, if their youth pastor told them that, then both are misguided. As I mentioned earlier, if that youth pastor read Galatians then they would know that God doesn't put up with those that abuse his grace. He allows us to reap what we sow. The message that this youth is turning into a free for all is grace. I am sure they had selective hearing when listening to their pastor.

imastinker, according to the bible baptism isn't the same. We are to born-again and then baptized. A baptism is supposed to be an outward act and display of what has happened on the inside. That's why I don't agree with the faiths that declare baptism a requirement to get into heaven. A biblical baptism from the greek word "Baptizo" is submersion. This is done to symbolize the death and resurrection of Christ because when you are born again, you have died with Christ and rise alive in Christ. You are burying the old man with the sin nature and rising a new creature (II Cor 5:17).

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

Faith is the true hazard here, believing something despite a lack of evidence or in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Faith and dogma are the real problems.

It is faith that drives islamic suicide bombers and terrorists. They actually believe they will reside in heaven with god by being a martyr.

It is faith that drives christians to shoot abortion doctors, terrorize and intimidate medical professionals, blow up federal buildings, and gather harems of young girls.

It is faith that causes christians and muslims to reject science and reason when it conflicts with their dogmatic beliefs.

Once a person crosses that line, believes something to be true despite lack of evidence or in the face of evidence to the contrary, there is nothing they are not capable of.

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

I think this is why religious people strive to identify miracles and visions, to justify their faith with evidence. They intuitively know that reason and evidence are the best ways of knowing what is real, so they attempt to justify their faith by claiming miracles and visions.

The problem is, these are generally personal experiences that cannot be shared in a meaningful way with other humans (in other words, they are not evidence).

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ksdivakat 7 years, 8 months ago

Heres my opinion, and maybe if more people thought like this there wouldnt be the hatred that gets spewed out...I am a christian, I believe the bible to be true, so i try to live my life according to what the bible says and when i die, if i was wrong what have I lost? Is trying to live a good and decent life really that bad? BUT, what if I lived my life in the world and of the flesh and I die and find out that the bible was true? Then Ive lost my soul. Its not now nor will it ever be up to me what your salvation is, or anyone elses, nobody wants to listen to the opinions of others if they dont agree with the majority or the few that just like to argue rather than present a valid case. Im far from perfect, I make mistakes everyday, and so does every other christian, muslium, buddahist, catholic or whatever you may identify with, there are also radical extremist in every group.....christians are the most identified bacause when a christian falls from grace ie: Ted Haggard then EVERYONE is quick to say thats because hes a christian....and non-believers want christians to be the bad guy, I dont try to convert or coerce anyone, if you want to chat about why im so happy then cool, we can chat, if not thats cool too, im gonna keep stepping! God bless all in the new year!

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yourworstnightmare 7 years, 8 months ago

ksdivakat said: "I am a christian, I believe the bible to be true, so i try to live my life according to what the bible says and when i die, if i was wrong what have I lost?"

This is my point exactly. Living your life believing that you will be rewarded in heaven can be a problem.

To a fundamentalist muslim, the best way to get to heaven and to get the virgins is to be a martyr for islam, to be a suicide bomber, a terrorist, or to fly airplanes into buildings.

To a fundamentalist chrisitian, the best way to get to heaven is to crusade on moral causes (anti-abortion, anti-science, anti-secular, anti-birth control) which can lead to big problems for others here on earth.

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ksmoderate 7 years, 8 months ago

And now, time for my favorite bumper sticker:

"Jesus Loves You. Everyone Else Thinks You're An A$$hole."

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Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 7 years, 8 months ago

When I was in my twenties and friend of mine died in a car accident. He was one of the sweetest guys you could know. Treated everyone with grace. A coworker asked my if he had been born again, and I said I didn't think so. She then told me that unfortunately that meant he went to hell. I asked her if a serial killer was "born again" right before he died, would he go to heaven or hell? When she said heaven, I rejected the organized Christian faiths. I love Jesus and the love he taught, so I have a hard time believing that he wouldn't be equally as loving to everyone. I think he would be pretty egotistical if he only loved people who bow down to him, and ego is not something I associate with godliness. I stay away form any organized religion, although I believe in a god. I think god has many manifestations and messengers, so Buddha, Jesus, etc., etc. are messengers of god. He/she would not just send 1 messenger, and their goodness and teaching lasts. Hatred is still out there, but people who teach love (Ghandi, King, Mother Theresa, etc, will alway prevail over those who teach hate: Hitler, Pinochet, Saddam, etc.

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craigers 7 years, 8 months ago

dorothyhr, I believe you are right that Jesus is as loving to every person here on earth. However, you are associating loving with giving out what you consider to be justice. For your friend, they could be as hateful or loving as you want them to be but we are all held to one standard. I don't believe it is God's wish to confuse anybody, that is why He would send one messenger, not multiple. One simple way to guarantee you are going to heaven, is by accepting God's grace and being born again. The problem is with all of their other religious organizations, they are built upon what we do as humans. Christianity is all about what God did for us and the gift He gave to us, not about what we do. All we have to do is accept. That is a loving God, a pure simple message to save us. I choose to believe this because of the miracles that I have seen, been told of by my pastor from when he was on missionary trips, and other personal experiences. I know Christ is real because He has proven himself to me. And He would do the same for anybody that chooses to give Him a chance.

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