Archive for Thursday, June 5, 2008

Peace and religion

June 5, 2008


To the editor:

At least last week's Faith Forum on God and war supported humanity's ability to put our weapons down. Of course the clergy evangelized for their own path as the way out of war. The Old and New Testament were cast as the first ever and current top guidebook to secure a peaceful planet. But history isn't served by this claim. And it's too bad that those who note the poor track record by world religions to walk their talk are left with no alternative myth or spirituality to inspire lasting peace.

Religion did exist before scripture. Even the Neanderthals buried their dead in a sacred manner. More to the point, there were archaic cultures who honored God as Divine Mother, Her body the ground they walked - no weapons or fortifications found in their graves or surroundings. The work of anthropologist Marija Gimbutas in the Neolithic Balkan area is crucial here. More familiar, the Minoan civilization of ancient Crete epitomized a peaceful people's love of art, ritual, sports and a darn good time. No weaponry there either.

Peace won't be won by ignoring select examples of it in our collective religious past. I wonder what a theology that honors the Divine Mother - and by extension, elevates the status of women - would do for our foreign policy, social services, our physical and mental health?

Or for our children's future.

Sue Westwind,


bisky1 10 years ago

silly girl, reality is for men yuk yuk yuk

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

Sue's letter makes absolutely no sense. My head hurts from all the meandering.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

"Also known as "completely reformed, starting during the enlightenment.""imagine that statement applied to al quaeda a few decades from now. yeah, that's right, in three or four decades we will have the nicer, more peaceful version of al quaeda known as the completely reformed, enlightened al quaedians holding hands with the xtians singing kumbaya thinking to themselves, "wow, i like these xtians who dont share my beliefs. we disagree about a serious issue that is the basis of my life. i feel threatened by them trying to change me and my beliefs, i believe they are completely wrong and actually i wish they believed what i believe and actually if they would just convert to my belief we would all be better off and it's too bad that they couldnt see the truth, but hey, i'm reformed and enlightened and i'm just gonna keep singin kumbaya and i will never ever never want to do them harm". yeah right!

ReadingSports 10 years ago

Continued...Off the top of my head, I also believe that the following concepts originated with Christ, and are not included in Judism and Islam. (At least not to my knowledge.)- "turn the other cheek",- If someone asks you to go a mile, go two.- Likewise if someone asks for your coat, give them your shirt as well. (Sorry, bad paraphrase.)- Love your neighbor, and with it a broad universal declaration of neighbor, which includes a repudiation of racism. The Good Samaritan story. Samaritan because Samaritans were not Israelis.I can get the references if you want them. "I also seem to remember several Jesus quotes about taking up swords or coming to bring a sword." This is a long post, I'm going to truncate some of these references.--1 The quote is from Matthew 10:34-39 ":I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. : 39 Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." Generally this is viewed metaphorically, that the world will react negatively to Christianity, and that the sword in the passage will be used on Christians and not by. Particularly in light of John 15: 18 "If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. 19 If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you." HMMM:.---2. Luke 22:36-38 36 He said to them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one. : 38The disciples said, "See, Lord, here are two swords." "That is enough," he replied." Which is followed by the "live by the sword, die by the sword" comment and the healing of Caiaphas's servant. Was the "get a sword" comment a set up for the "live by the sword" comment? "Or how about Paul indicating we need to follow the government." 1 Peter 2:17 says "honor the king" not follow. And always do good since the government can punish you, but it's better to suffer for doing good than for doing wrong. I know that Paul said something about submitting to the government, I don't remember where. But remember that this was very persecuted minority, that wanted to escape government attention. To claim this is a license for war is a stretchI would also add "Romans12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone."I will go back to Marion's statement "Both "Testaments" go into great detail about WHEN to kill or make war, WHO to kill and HOW to do it, while giving the follower a free "Get Out Of Hell" card for doing the "Lord's" work." I'm still missing that "Get Out of Hell" free card for killing infidels, but maybe you can enlighten me about the Christian faith.

BorderRat 10 years ago

More wars have been fought over religion than any other reason.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

And again: Matthew 5:21-24 21 "You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, 'Do not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment.' 22 But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, 'Raca,' is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, 'You fool!' will be in danger of the fire of hell. 23 "Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to your brother; then come and offer your gift.

Left_handed 10 years ago

Christians have a name for those who kill others "citing Christ as the reason." We call them 'non-Christians'.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

Supertramp, ":people seem to know the mind of Mother Theresa." Wasn't claiming to. I was referring to the post by Bossa_Nova, who was referring to her memoirs. While I confess that I haven't read the whole thing, just excerpts, the bits I have read, lead me to believe that her faith was intact at her death. "boasting about how followers of a certain religion are "better" ..." Please show me where I said that? And if I did, I would be wrong, and such a claim would be wrong from a Christian standpoint. However, isn't it equally wrong for someone to assert that the world's "Big Three" monotheistic religions are all the same and are all abusive and warlike. I was presenting examples of a Christian Ideal. I did ask for other examples of "good" people. Oh and by the way it is AA advocating for extinction of all religious people. A common, though, not universal view among atheists.":justification of war or self-defense given by the bible." I was arguing with blanket statements that indicated that Christianity is violent or even war-like. The Biblical justification for war is rocky and much debated even among Christians. Certainly Israel waged wars on other countries with God's assistance. (Though it would be a real reach to claim that these countries were peaceful people.) There were also definite consequences when war was not justified. Also David was considered un-worthy to build the temple since he "was a man of war".The Bible does have capital punishment for murder, which is much debated among Christians. And the Old Covenant does include capital punishment for violating the Covenant that specifically applied the Jews and the Jewish nation, but that Covenant no longer applies. On war, is war ever justified: WWII, Civil War, Revolutionary War? It's also easy to talk about blanket opposition to war when one lives daily with its fruits, hey? I also would distinguish between a poetic "time for war" in Ecclesiastes, btw, and advocating for war.

1029 10 years ago

It's one thing to love Christianity, but seriously, no one can deny that its existence has been the cause of, or at least a contributing factor to, most of the violence that has taken place throughout the history. Personally, I always felt to each their own--I knew that without belief in christianity many people would feel so depressed and purposeless that they wouldn't know what to do with themselves. Christianity is great because it is an efficient method of social control (without it, who knows how differently society would have developed throughout the last several hundred years). However, christianity is not so great when it prevents people from forming rational political decisions. On another note, I can't believe the ljw published this letter.

RedwoodCoast 10 years ago

Anyway, back to the LTE, I'm not sure the writer uses her anthropological info accurately. Unless there are written records to examine, an interpretation of a prehistoric religion is just that--an interpretation. Also, there is still much speculation whether Neandertals buried their dead for ceremonial or practical purposes. And the weaponless burials? Man, I could continue my rant, but just know that the anthro info in this letter is completely misrepresented.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

was mother teresa really a true believer? did not her writings question the reality of the church? perhaps mother teresa was an agnostic laboring in poverty only to give everything for someone else. also, what is the true motive of a self-righteous churchgoer who publicizes his labor for the benefit of others? is it because of his passion for the welfare of others or is it notoriety or is it just trying to get a better seat in heaven? do you give money to the poor because you are truly concerned for them or is it because you feel guilty or because you are trying to buy your way into heaven. the true giver does so silently and avoids publicity, that's why youre not aware of the generous atheists/agnostics laboring in obscurity. given that, if someone is laboring in obscurity you wouldnt be aware of them anyways because they are in the obscurity, duh!

clmillionaire 10 years ago

it all comes down to:there is a time for...peacewarjoysorrowetc...which BTW the person who wrote the article never REALLY gets around to. Something like the only thing evil needs to prevail is for good men to do nothing. I don't remember who said it but there is always a time to stand up for what is right, sit down and not bother, celebrate (whatever) and be sad (for whatever)... this is part of life.To say this caused war or that caused war is only to say, it was time to fight, usually a wrong being used against the group standing up to fight.To say we should never fight is to allow the hitlers, maoists, and all the others I won't waist time reiterating to prevail with their ideas.ALL ideas have consequences.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

as for your comments on capitalism, is it not apparent that generally the greatest proponents of runaway capitalism are the psychotic xtian fanatics? or is it the other way around, the staunch runaway capitalists are the greatest proponents of xtianity? nevertheless, the wacko extremist capitalist and the wacko extremist xtian seem to be buddies conspiring together nowadays.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

redwood, dude, it was just gettin good and you go and change the subject!

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

the stalins, hitlers, maos, pope urban's, cortezes, pizarros and the wacko xtian fanatics are all in the same category. they all killed millions because of their wacko extremist ideologies. and just because you dont see xtians ethnically cleansing people today to the degree that they were allowed to in the past doesnt mean that they wouldnt if they had the means to do so today. indeed the xtian tendancy to erradicate the "infidels" is alive and well. it's only laying dormant for now with the intention of resurging when the time is right.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

One only need look at Italy, Russia, and Cambodia.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

Oh, and Marion, propaganda is making wild unsupported statements with no facts to back them up.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

youre not aware of them because they havent been ultra-publicized by the church.

SettingTheRecordStraight 10 years ago

BorderRat,And atheists have killed more people than theists have.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

" just because you dont see xtians ethnically cleansing people today to the degree that they were allowed to in the past doesnt mean that they wouldnt if they had the means to do so today. indeed the xtian tendancy to erradicate the "infidels" is alive and well. it's only laying dormant for now with the intention of resurging when the time is right."Seems to me the Xtians are slaughtering infidels by the hundreds of thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan, and by proxy in Gaza and Lebanon, and they're salivating over the prospect of killing Iranians in similar numbers.

Moonbat 10 years ago

Yikes on BigPrune's comment.That's sarcasm right?

jonas 10 years ago

Marion (Marion Lynn) says:". . . it is hardly worth bothering with except for the fact that the LJW printed it and young children may be mislead."Do you know a lot of kids that regularly read the LTEs?This article/thread, though, should be re-titled "Thoughts From the Asylum."

BrianR 10 years ago

SettingTheRecordStraight (Anonymous) flagrantly lies: "And atheists have killed more people than theists have."Wow, you're full of 'em today.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 10 years ago

"Show me an atheist Jim Elliot, or St. Teresa, or St. Augustine, show me one that was a great humanitarian at great personal cost."Until very recently, and maybe not even now, if you were an atheist and made any public statement about it, at the very least, your religious neighbors would have ostracized you, and very likely the religious powers that be would have persecuted you, maybe even imprisoned or killed you,

supertrampofkansas 10 years ago

Curious how people seem to know the mind of Mother Theresa. Also seems curious to be boasting about how followers of a certain religion are "better" than everyone else. Maybe I am misunderstanding what is being said here so please correct me if I am wrong.There does seem to be some reading comprehension issues though. For example, Marion says "Both "Testaments" go into great detail about WHEN to kill or make war, WHO to kill and HOW to do it, while giving the follower a free "Get Out Of Hell" card for doing the "Lord's" work." which ReadingSports promply responds "Please do tell, where I can get a FREE pass to wage war. Really, I want one." A free pass? That is not Marion is saying ReadingSports. I'm not sure how you interpreted it as a "free pass". I am also somewhat surprised by your lack of recognition for the justification of war or self-defense given by the bible. I think the bible very clearly indicates that there is a time for war and a time for peace. I also seem to remember several Jesus quotes about taking up swords or coming to bring a sword. Or how about Paul indicating we need to follow the government whenever it asks us to do something for them such as go to war. That is all in the new testament. The justification for wars or killing people including women and children is rampant in the old testament. Maybe I misinterpreting the bible but I think it does indicate war is necessary.

Bossa_Nova 10 years ago

wow screed, i really pushed your buttons didnt i? something i said must have really hit close to home.

BigPrune 10 years ago

If women didn't insist on being in the workforce, men would make more money and women would be able to stay home and take care of the kids, or just stay home.So, is it better now than before? Has this historically recent new found freedom for women in the workforce contributed to higher divorce rates?

ReadingSports 10 years ago

I will give you one concession on the violence front. John 2:14-16.Were his actions justified? The folks in Mark 11:18 didn't think so.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

Old Covenant, which applied to Isreal and only Isreal.Yes, I have read my Bible, did so this morning. Personal attack, BTW. On both me and my pastor. As far as I know the only time my pastor foams at the mouth is when he brushes his teeth. sorceress Exodus 22:17 and 2 Chronicles, This was a different crueler time. Frequently these also practiced human sacrifice. Also remember there was contract, or Convenant, between God and Isreal. Milk and Honey and God was the only God. Sexual Sin was punishable by death, Revoked by Christ in John 8:2-11. Exodus 21:15 assult and battery, abuse of parents. I believe that would still get someone a jail sentence today. Aren't you just quibbling over the punishment? Remember also that this was a nomidic tribe at the time. There weren't a whole lot of punishment options. And I give you the prodigal son. 2 Kings 2:23-24 So Elisha is responsible for the actions of the bears? You said "Both". Where's Both?

ReadingSports 10 years ago

I see your Old Covenant and raise you:Matthew 18: 21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, "Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?" 22 Jesus answered, "I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

Marion, Marion, Marion.Once again, specifics please. Please do tell, where I can get a free pass to wage war. Really, I want one. I've read both Testaments all the way through, more than once BTW, and:I can't, for the life of me, tell what you are talking about. Or else I just might assume that this yet another vain, ad hominem attempt to lump all religious people into one big boat. Maybe you think that Jim and Elisabeth Elliot and Osama Bin Laden are cut from the same cloth. The Wahhabi's and St. Teresa are philosophical kindred spirits. By all means let's expand the war on terror to include the Catholic Church. Okay, maybe I stop now: This isn't going to get better.And while we're at it. Show me an atheist Jim Elliot, or St. Teresa, or St. Augustine, show me one that was a great humanitarian at great personal cost. It's one thing to be Bill Gates or a Warren Buffet, to be rich and famous, and give money to charity. It's another thing to labor in obscurity, or in poverty only to give everything you have left for someone else. Not saying they're not out there, I'm just not aware of them.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

None of these people sought fame for themselves. If you want to question Mother Theresa's humility, I might have a disagreement with that. As for Mother Theresa's faith walk, you're sadly mistaken if you think that she was an agnostic. She was depressed and confused, because she hadn't felt the Lord's presence in her later years, not because she didn't believe. Big difference. So, why does the church publicize these people, why do other Christians want to hear about them? Why are these people held up by the Church as examples? Why aren't similiar examples raised by atheists? Is anything in the Christian makeup that moves people to service? Likewise, the Jewish, Islamic, Hindi, Wiccian, or atheistic makeup?

supertrampofkansas 10 years ago

Readingsports:Just some minor comments. I disagree with your interpretation of the Luke passage on taking up the sword or selling your garment for a sword. If it really was in reference to the die by the sword then it should also be die by the food or die by your bags because the same passage talks about taking your food and your bags which if I recall was pretty common for soldiers to do back in those days. That is to gather your belongings and weapons to go fight.I do agree with Marion on the seemingly changing nature of God between the old and new testaments. That alone has to be a hard truth to reconcile for most christians. Your claim that God rescinded most of the old testament laws is very puzzling to me (sorry if I am misterpreting your statement). If they were ok before but not ok now, it would suggest that God indeed did his change his mind. Even more puzzling is the Jesus Christ angle. Before the new test., my understanding is that if you weren't christian, you were pretty much screwed and going to he!!. But then here is Jesus and now you have a chance to redeem yourself in his name to reach your Father in heaven. Again it is that nagging thought in the back of your mind, why did God let all of those people perish with no way to get back to him and then decide later well maybe I am being a little too harsh here or maybe people deserve a second chance. When you look at it that way, then everything becomes relative and the absolutes don't exist. Nothing of that nature is worthy of my praise.Just in case you already didn't figure this out, I am an atheist, meaning I just believe in one less God than you do.

ReadingSports 10 years ago

I've been waiting for something that has now happened, so I'm going to keep this short and final.The law and God did not change, the punishment is merely held in abeyance. And the punishment is still death as your Luke quote indicates. It's just that only God, (Father, Son, Spirit) has the authority to carry out the sentence. Otherwise known as judgement. The death is second death, where "their worm does not die and their fire does not go out."Go back to John 8:2-11.Not a reference to die by the sword, a set up. And that is the common interpretation, and mine as well. You are free to have your own interpretation, and so am I. Marion's thesis is that Christianity is violent and warlike. I ask again, where are the Christians rioting in the streets whenever something like this happens:, I'm not sure why you are so angry. Your words in the Kennedy threads had impressed me. I hope and pray, no offense, that you find peace somehow. I also apologize if it was someone claiming to follow Christ that made you this way, and hope, and pray, also that you somehow find forgiveness and reconcilation. Thank you

Sue Westwind 10 years ago

My point about the presence of the Divine Feminine in all religious traditions--including Christianity and Judaism--appears overlooked here. The Divine Mother as guiding icon has potential. She signifies the closeness, inclusiveness, and peace-making skills of a mother among squabbling siblings. And an antidote to a jealous, angry, disembodied god who supports only select believers.We all long for an end to the violence. Why not allow in our religious expression the image of a loving and compassionate Mother, as other cultures have?I'm not an anthropologist. But the research is abundant, and much of it puzzles as to how a culture so successful as Minoan Crete could pull off peace and prosperity without being a military state. High status of women, economic equality in a prosperous land, a flowering of art, Goddess religion, sports and commerce. Evidence of weapons suggests the Minoans attempt to defend themselves against pirates, major sea power that they were. See for more info.I never meant to imply Neandertals were peaceful; only that the urge to merge with the divine is ancient and pervasive. But as for Old Europe, Crete, and Catal Hayuk, what is the harm in acknowledging that in our past humans knew peace, gender equality, and prosperity for all? What harm in probing the religious underpinnings of that time, and finding Her there?Sue Westwind

supertrampofkansas 10 years ago

ReadingSports:Your quote of "The law and God did not change, the punishment is merely held in abeyance." is disappointing and a copout. It still doesn't change the fact that the biblical God changed the rules. The act of suspension is a change and no matter how you interpret that change, you are still left with relativism of this biblical God.Also in answer to your plea to Marion, I find it very common for christians to label people as being angry or dogmatic when they object to religious texts, claims or beliefs. Despite your desire to dismiss Marion or myself as angry dogmatic lost souls, it is possible to reject unfounded religious beliefs without being dogmatic nor angry. One does not have to have faith to decide that a certain belief or text is ridiculous. I will not let some religion invented by humans to trivialize the beauty and immensity of the universe.

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