Advertisement

Letters to the Editor

Where’s sanity?

May 4, 2008

Advertisement

To the editor:

So you might think it's crazy that the FLDS children are not allowed to look at the color red and not allowed to have children's books. And you think it is silly and superstitious that a girl born with two faces is worshipped from miles around as a Hindu Goddess (Journal-World April 9). And you probably think it's abusive and criminal to refuse medical treatment while relying only on prayer for a dying 11-year-old girl with diabetes. (After all, if prayer really works, why go to a doctor?) Yet, you don't think it is crazy or silly, or worse, to teach your children that they are inherently bad, "sinful," because some woman ate a piece of fruit, and that "believing" in a magic martyr "with all your heart" and eating his body and drinking his blood, every so often, will give you life after death, with winged angels, somewhere over the rainbow. No, that's not crazy or silly or untruthful indoctrination fed to children day after day. It's just "faith." And you gotta have faith' hmm.

Reason, reality, science and nonsuperstitious humanism are patiently waiting outside of the box.

Brenda Frei,
Lawrence

Comments

Curious 5 years, 11 months ago

Is part of the lack of "faith" in what cannot be seen due to the fact that many don't have close communications with believing grandparents anymore? Maybe my dear departed elders were totally incorrect. But the quiet confidence they had in their Lord was palpable - influenced, not by parents any longer, but by the experiences of a long life. If I am half as full of peace as they were as I reach my final days, I will owe it to them and the faith they lived. A faith as real as the morning sun.

0

storm 5 years, 11 months ago

The letter states examples and then gives the conclusion - Reason, reality, science and nonsuperstitious humanism are patiently waiting outside of the box. This means people who somehow think a dead guy can still love (go figure, dead is dead) and wants you to come over and hear the spiel at their church, should realize there are other ways of thinking. Again, reason, reality, science and nonsuperstitious humanism are patiently waiting outside of the box.

0

Paul R Getto 5 years, 11 months ago

It appears to me all religions teach essentially the same things: 1. Be altruistic; 2. Be empathetic; 3. Be generous. We fail in these many times each day because we are "imperfect." Religion has done much good when these principles are followed. It has done much evil in the name of loving gods when they were not. I don't think mocking people's belief systems (or lack thereof) is useful or productive.

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 11 months ago

Imastinker: That was my "gripe" as well. If she's so neutral and a live and let live kinda gal, then why the letter? Why shove it down everyone's throat? All she did was emulate the evangelicals down to a "T" (that's the letter T, not a cross).I have nothing against atheists -- good for you that you're happy in life -- but I hope you're not wrong in the "faith" that you've chosen.. If I'm wrong, no foul -- I'm just dead.And I have investigated the major religions -- all of them in depth. I had my faith seriously shaken while attending KU many years ago. That sparked a journey in me to find out why I believe what I believe. I had nothing to say to a critic other than, "I just believe it's so!" After more than a decade of in-depth study and comparing manuscript evidence, archaeological evidence, science of statistical probabilities and prophesy, I have no doubt that Christianity is true.

0

imastinker 5 years, 11 months ago

I don't like it when people do that either.This is worse than trying to convert someone though. While I have never tried to do that, at least those people have good intentions. Brenda's only intention was to criticize others beliefs.

0

Pywacket 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes, they probably do bother her. Some Christians (again--not all) bother a lot of people who don't share their beliefs. Intentionally. And, since you ask, why do Christians care what others believe? They seem more insistently nosy about others' beliefs than any other group I can think of. I've been questioned by countless total strangers who are Christian whether I "know Jesus," or words to that effect. I've had them come to my door and pressure me to let them in so they can proselytize to me. How many atheists have come to your door with similar intentions?Come to think of it, I don't believe a single fellow atheist, or a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc., has EVER approached me as a complete stranger and demanded to know what I believed--and then proceeded to condescendingly inform me that they would "pray for me" or (conversely) start threatening me with hellfire if my answer indicated that my beliefs did not dovetail with the (ahem) inquisitor's own. So, yeah... Maybe Brenda was just having one of those weeks, where was just fed up--and had heard enough to make her spout off. Maybe just one too many pairs of dark-suit-clad men on bicycles showed up at her house trying to push their "literature" on her. Who knows? Whatever compelled her to write that letter, good for her, I say.

0

imastinker 5 years, 11 months ago

What possible point could this person have other than to attempt to trivialize the beliefs of others? She makes no discussion that is related to public policy or anything other than marginalizing what others believe.Why does she care what others believe? Do Christians bother her?What a useless waste of space!

0

Pywacket 5 years, 11 months ago

Brenda~ Sing it, sister! There are a few of us out here who leave fantasy worlds (including, but not limited to, Santa, the Easter Bunny, leprechauns, gods, monsters, fairies, angels, and orcs) behind in childhood--where they belong. It's refreshing when "one of us" speaks out, and amusing to see the offended responses of Christians who think nothing of openly, self-righteously, and loudly trampling on our beliefs every day.This criticism is by no means meant for all Christians. There are many (as well as many other assorted 'deity believers') who are as respectful of our beliefs as most of us usually are of theirs. In person, I am not confrontational with anyone unless they're trying to proselytize--at that point, I simply state my beliefs. I don't try to convert them--that would be hypocritical. I think there's quite enough hypocrisy among the "believers," without my adding to it by pushing my beliefs onto them. Still... once in awhile, it's good to hear what I consider the truth spoken openly.Watch your back, though, having signed you real name to your comments. I don't have to tell you how many people have been persecuted for openly rejecting Christianity. There are fundies out there who would not hesitate to do harm "in the name of the lord." Look at the ones who have shot doctors and bombed clinics. Good Christians, indeed! One more thing--the Flying Spaghetti Monster IS real. Seriously, you guys.

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

Aha..back 4 a few seconds.......I`ll be back!

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

Losin mine (sanity) doing battle with the creep in control of the post site....re=post !

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

P.S....Prez Bush is a self describe religous man ..a christian....He has put his love 4 oil money before his phoney religious malarky....I have faith in my personal relationship within the higher power I have come 2 terms with ..and It isnt the same one Bushy is claimin 2 have! The one I believe in will fight 4 the right reasons..which is why we have the arch angel Micheal...but fighting over oil is not a worthy cause! G.O.P.s in control is true evil...!

0

ksdivakat 5 years, 11 months ago

I would just like to add, that the bible does say that no matter how long man has tried to disprove the stories of the bible, they have not yet been able, and that its still around, and always will be.Having said that, I attend the Mustard Seed, where anyone is welcome and we are accepting of all people.....God Bless all on this blog today!

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

Yes ..Pomegrante...I will look you over...over look that is....I am sure you are a wonderful person but sanity is not always found in the church ...it is found within your self..4 some hiding in the darkest part of your mind and lost soul! My observations have shown me that extreme religous whackadoos are full of hate 4 anyone that dont agree with their Ideas of religion...example: Many wars and killing of innocent bystanders and people trying 2 provide 4 their families (miltary) are started by religous differences...I dont think that is what the god you believe in had in mind! Spread the love but spare the bullets...now I must go and groom and twist on my mustache!

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

I will say it again....where is the sanity indeed? When it is unearthed & RE-discovered....Watch out 4 the stampede..cuz it will be another `49 gold rush with people steppin all over each other 2 harvest it! Juz my way o pullin up may 4 post.....gotta keep tendin the comment garden or my crop will magically do the David Copperfield impersonation! Tending yer garden is most important...sanity not unlike marriage takes a lotta attention 4 growth! So get in there and roll up yer sleeves and puul them destructive weeds of life that are trying 2 take control of yer emotions! work ..work ..work..the work invloved is never done 4 a successful garden ..your brain cell garden needs a lotta care or you will indeed become a rotten vegatible!

0

moo 5 years, 11 months ago

Oh, and so far I'm pleasantly surprised by the lack of comments crying out about the extreme bigotry and discrimination Christians must face daily at the hands of cruel, intolerant liberals stroking their long, black mustaches.

0

moo 5 years, 11 months ago

Brenda, thanks for making my day a little bit brighter. : ) I also get tired of religious people (who are welcome to be so, I have nothing against other people having faith, as long as I am equally free to have a lack of it) thinking they have a complete monopoly on love, kindness, and human decency. I know wonderful Christians and mean Christians, just as I know wonderful Atheists and mean Atheists.

0

pomegranate 5 years, 11 months ago

Brenda honey, All I did was invite everyone to my church. I did not preach to any of you, or try to tell you that any of your beliefs or disbeliefs were either right or wrong. Or that mine were the only way to go. And we are the Free Methodist not the United Methodist. And, I am sure that I would love to have dinner with you and your family. You are probably a very good cook, and your family sounds lovely.

0

libertarianjim 5 years, 11 months ago

TomPaine, I would just like to see the evidence that every parent was abusing each child. As of yet, I have not seen or heard anything except a little bit of targeted leaked information. The rounding up of citizens to include separating 400+ children from their parents without evidence based on religious beliefs is a very dangerous precedent, as I stated before. What isn't the government telling us? Your confidence in government morality is commendable! I don't share your confidence. I will withhold judgment until the facts are presented. I know I am in the minority with my opinion, but I will make a prediction. I predict when all is said and done the government will have overstepped its legal authority and will have apologists making excuses for their unconstitutional behavior.

0

Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

BrianR,I was going to commend you for the bacon line, and then warmer stole the show.And even more entertaining, his link.warmer, that one is going to get forwarded a lot of places.

0

Brenda30Days 5 years, 11 months ago

Dear pomegranate (Continued):In addition to talking about love and kindness in your church, your church activities also include prayer, reading quotes from the Bible, and spending a lot of time talking about Jesus and God. Don't forget about all of that. You are apparently comfortable with that kind of talk and belief. If you visited other fellowships and were told that Muhammad flew to heaven on a winged horse, or that Mr. Smith loves you, or that Zoobie is the true God, you might not feel comfortable because you wouldn't think that was "true" and you might even think some of it a little weird. Mostly, that's because you didn't grow up learning Zoobie was the true God or that Mr. Smith was a divine dude. Let's suppose the Zoobie churchgoers and leaders talked about love and kindness in their services, but they did a lot of other things, too, that you weren't so cool with, you might decide not to waste hours attending. And most of all, you didn't go to Zoobie church because you wanted to be honest, because the backbone of their beliefs did not make any common sense and weren't even close to what you thought was true. Furthermore, you might even think that some of their beliefs are not only untrue, but actually unhealthy for a society. You might, then, decide to get your love and kindness in other ways than hanging out with the Zoobieites, or at least not go to the services when they are Zoobieiting. It shouldn't come as a surprise to you that many people don't think the Jesus/God stories are all true or healthy (no different than you not believing Zoobie stories).Have you ever really thought about your religious ideology? Not just the social relationships and beautiful music and feelings you get in church? Your comment said nothing about the points of the letter to the editor, nor your religious ideology. I have spent hundreds of hours over decades listening, taking notes, singing, etc. in United Methodist churches. How many hours have you ever spent knowingly dialoging with a nontheist? In my younger years, I witnessed and brought people to church as you are trying to do. Then I started to really think about the words and the meanings of what I believed. I started tuning in to common sense and not just to emotion. I'd be happy to share my journey with you or with a group of your friends. I welcome hearing your life story and would like to share mine. I bet we'll even feel like giving each other a kind hug afterward. My number is in the telephone book. Weekends would be better than weekdays. I wish you well. Sincerely, Brenda

0

Brenda30Days 5 years, 11 months ago

Dear pomegranate, This is Brenda Frei here. I want to extend a welcome invitation for you to join our family for a home-cooked meal in our Lawrence home. My husband and 4 children welcome you to our loving and kind home. Many Christians do not realize that many atheists are loving, honest, kind, responsible, and very happy people. We have loving and supportive social groups and many personal friends (some are religious and some aren't.) We express our love to friends and family directly, rather than through an organization that focuses on religious ideology. [Continued in next post due to length limits]

0

pomegranate 5 years, 11 months ago

I would personaly like to invite all of you to visit my church, Lawrence Free Methodist. It is located on the corner of Lawrence Ave and 31st street. They preach and teach love, kindness sharing , giving, and Jesus' love for us all.They have the most wonderful children and youth program that I have ever seen at a church.Traditional service is 8:30am, contemporary is at 9:45am, and 11:00am. Sunday school is at 9:45.Please come and give us a look over.

0

Bruce Springsteen 5 years, 11 months ago

Nah, Libertarianjim, If government has any useful function at all, it would at least be to protect defenseless children from those who would physically or psychologically abuse and exploit them, and the fact that the ones doing the abusing are parents or are religiously motivated doesn't present any defense whatsoever. In fact, for parents to violate the trust of their children in so extreme a fashion, and use religious excuses - the worst, most groundless excuses imaginable - is one of the most obvious cases where society, acting through duly elected governments and carefully considered laws, must step in. You couldn't have the calculus here more backwards, L. This intervention was a no-brainer, and only should have come sooner.Not to quibble too much, BTW, but it's not parents' (and everyone else's) beliefs, but their actions that are within the reach of government. Jefferson made this as plain as could be a couple of centuries ago, in discussing our religious freedom. We have a long precedent of stopping harmful acts, even if motivated by "faith," to protect those whose consent is not truly given, or to prevent evident harm to the general society.Heck, I think those kids in the film "Jesus Camp" should be in protective care... Talk about psychological abuse. And nobody was sexually exploiting them; just telling them evil, traumatic lies about themselves and encouraging them to fall into hysterical babbling fits. Nice adults there. Where are the psychology professionals and child development experts when this stuff is going on?

0

its_getting_warmer 5 years, 11 months ago

BrianR, I call your bacon and will take an EggMcMuffin and chocolate shake.

0

le 5 years, 11 months ago

Where does one find this myth called sanity? Ill take 2 please! When it is unearthed ..watch out 4 the stampede..cuz it will be not unlike the49 gold rush!

0

libertarianjim 5 years, 11 months ago

Crazy in America is: Taking every child away from their mother based on her religious belief. Every citizen has the same rights unless of course your religion is FLDS. You or I may not have the same belief system as the FLDS, but to deny their rights is a dangerous precedent. If we allow the government to detain hundreds of citizens and separate families without evidence in each particular case based on one illegitimate tip, we are subverting our own rights as citizens.

0

Bruce Springsteen 5 years, 11 months ago

True, Bozo. Moreover, we are possessed of much deeper wisdom in our hearts than the authors of the "holy" books could begin to imagine, not just the "data" that Devobrun finds in our computers. We have advanced by orders of magnitude not only in factual knowledge about reality, but in our aspirations for humanity - and these are not unconnected phenomena. Our scientific awareness has enriched our understanding of who and what we are, and made us ever more inclusive, courageous, and able to help our own and each other's pain, as well as to imagine and evolve societies that better reflect our highest hopes and potential. I'll put my "faith" in that gradual improvement, with the setbacks that inevitably come, because it has earned my trust. Supernaturalism has not, and we owe it to our fellow humans to help them shed it.Centuries of the "wisdom" of religious faith only taught us that we somehow earned our misery, to stifle our questions and endure grimly until the great sorting out (or, in the Eastern model, that we should discover ways to detach from a physical world which is, somehow, inferior to the shut-eyed escapism of "contemplative" imaginings). Many still seem to prefer that cynical pessimism or shrugging evasion, even in the face of well-employed knowledge that shames those made-up explanations and dead-end ideologies. How anyone can consider the millennia of human bigotry and ignorance to have betokened a "wiser" world is beyond me.TS Eliot is right - "data" doesn't constitute "wisdom," any more than money buys happiness, but in both cases it can get you more opportunities to look. And we have used those opportunities wonderfully well, on balance, even while dragging the irrelevant religious baggage along. It's time to imagine what we could do without the baggage.

0

VoijaRisa 5 years, 11 months ago

Tom: You're quite right. Brenda was in fact an evangelical Christian growing up and even went on extended missions in her childhood. I dare say she doesn't know the bible extremely well.For someone that claims that Brenda makes sweeping generalizations, Jason sure does a lot of that himself. And what's more, instead of actually addressing the point of Brenda's piece, he picks out a few minor quibbles different sects have and whines about them.

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

". Data abound, computers manipulate the data into pseudo-knowledge. Wisdom has been lost."Even if your characterization is accurate, that knowledge is orders of magnitude less "pseudo" than any knowledge derived from religious faith.

0

Bruce Springsteen 5 years, 11 months ago

Jason2007 - You are playing a common apologist stereotype quite well. First you assume the critic of religion doesn't know Christianity because they don't follow the emphasis of your particular brand of it. You miscalculaye the odds. In all likelihood, Brenda was raised in some other version of Christianity, knows it quite well, and just uses the figures of that version as examples of the sort of things that make religion ridiculous. The letter could be as easily made to fit your particular brand of superstition and "theological" evasion.Sarcasm is quite effective, rhetorically, in pointing out hypocrisy - it turns on some implied failure in logic or moral consistency that should be so evident as to not require formal refutation, hence the dismissive character - and that is largely the tone and purpose of her letter, which is perfectly suited to the subject and which she achieves quite well. How dare Christians make fun of and dismiss the silly, vulgar beliefs of others when their own beliefs - taken from the point of view of someone not already in the club - are just as worthy of derision? Oh, yes, they dare because they are right and the others are wrong, and because their feelings of offense override the offense they give with those beliefs. Christianity really is a very offensive, sinister, arrogant set of ideas posing as truth, virtue and love, insisting on its uniqueness without anything that rises to the level of good evidence.Now really, who is it that has no logical, rational point to make? I missed your logical, rational explanation of the Garden of Eden myth. At any rate, I think the emotional, intuitive arguments against Christianity are stronger than the logical ones, and more to the point Brenda makes. But we can go either way you like - "faith" fails on all levels.

0

devobrun 5 years, 11 months ago

"Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge? Where is the knowledge we have lost in information? ". T.S. ElliotWe live in a world of massively increasing information. Data abound, computers manipulate the data into pseudo-knowledge. Wisdom has been lost. Its Brenda's world.You have faith, Brenda. Otherwise you wouldn't want to share your wisdom with us.

0

BrianR 5 years, 11 months ago

I'm not sure I would've taken the apple from Eve. However, if she'd had bacon...

0

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 5 years, 11 months ago

"I can use a broad brush of hyperbole and sarcasm to make evolution look just as foolish too. What Brenda has done here can be done to any thought process which requires a certain degree of faith or cannot be proven empirically."Well, sure you can be sarcastic and hyperbolic. But that wouldn't change the fact that the theory of evolution doesn't rely on faith. The theory is mutable with the discovery of new data and the development of better tools of analysis of all data. That's what makes it science. The same can't be said for your obvious Christian Faith."And the original sin only demonstrates that we are inherently predisposed to evil thoughts, actions, etc."Is this a design flaw?"Who can debate that?"Certainly no one as fixed in their faith as you are.

0

SettingTheRecordStraight 5 years, 11 months ago

The government schools in which Brenda was taught obviously didn't teach her how to effectively use paragraphs.

0

Jason Bailey 5 years, 11 months ago

There's so much here that is flawed -- where to start?I can use a broad brush of hyperbole and sarcasm to make evolution look just as foolish too. What Brenda has done here can be done to any thought process which requires a certain degree of faith or cannot be proven empirically. Sarcasm is the recourse of the weak-minded.Brenda needs to learn more about Christianity before she spews off too. Salvation does not come through "eating his body or drinking his blood every so often" -- it comes through belief only and a relationship with Christ.The original sin was not Eve -- it was Adam. And the original sin only demonstrates that we are inherently predisposed to evil thoughts, actions, etc. Who can debate that? Is there anyone who can say they never struggle with bad thoughts, words, actions? Ok, case closed.The Bible never mentions a Wizard of Oz ending (over the rainbow) so not sure why you're mentioning that -- oh yeah...I remember now: you have no logical, rationale points, Brenda, so you're spewing out sarcasm. I forgot.

0

max1 5 years, 11 months ago

May 20, 2004http://www.guardian.co.uk/Iraq/Story/0,2763,1220781,00.htmlAfter it was revealed that the deputy undersecretary of defence for intelligence had been regularly appearing at evangelical revivals preaching that the US was in a holy war as a "Christian nation" battling "Satan", the furore was quickly calmed. . . he was at the heart of a secret operation to "Gitmoize" (Guantánamo is known in the US as Gitmo) the Abu Ghraib prison."I knew that my God was bigger than his." -General BoykinBoykin staged a travelling slide show around the country where he displayed pictures of Bin Laden and Saddam Hussein. "Satan wants to destroy this nation, he wants to destroy us as a nation, and he wants to destroy us as a Christian army," he preached. They "will only be defeated if we come against them in the name of Jesus". . . President Bush, he told an Oregon congregation last June, is "a man who prays in the Oval Office". And the president, too, is on a divine mission. "George Bush was not elected by a majority of the voters in the US. He was appointed by God."

0

max1 5 years, 11 months ago

http://www.nytimes.com/New York TimesWhen Specialist Jeremy Hall held a meeting last July for atheists and freethinkers at Camp Speicher in Iraq, he was excited, he said, to see an officer attending. But minutes into the talk, the officer, [Republican Bush-lover] Maj. Freddy J. Welborn, began to berate Specialist Hall and another soldier about atheism, Specialist Hall wrote in a sworn statement. "People like you are not holding up the Constitution and are going against what the founding fathers, who were Christians, wanted for America!" Major Welborn said, according to the statement.Major Welborn told the soldiers he might bar them from re-enlistment and bring charges against them, according to the statement.In November, he [Specialist Hall] was sent home early from Iraq because of threats from fellow soldiers.Though with a different unit now at Fort Riley, Specialist Hall said the backlash had continued. He has a no-contact order with a sergeant who, without provocation, threatened to "bust him in the mouth." Another sergeant allegedly told Specialist Hall that as an atheist, he was not entitled to religious freedom because he had no religion.http://suffolkhouse.wordpress.com/2008/04/27/freddy-welborn-christo-fascist-warrior/it appears as if Freddy thinks we are fighting in Iraq so he and his family can get front row seats at the rapture! Freddy Welborn belongs to Christo-fascist group called His Soldiers, ostensibly a group of men who think they are soldiers of God (Christ Qaeda!).Check out this image that many of the His Soldiers members like posting:http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2056/2443637683_c39e9a859b_o.pngCheck out this nonsense he's got posted at his MySpace page.http://www.myspace.com/freddywelborn

0

Multidisciplinary 5 years, 11 months ago

I thought she handed the apple to Adam.More confused, thanks Brenda!*~)

0

Gina Bailey-Carbaugh 5 years, 11 months ago

'And you gotta have faith" Whoa, had a George Michael moment.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.