Add to My MSN

Religion Is Fair Game for Debate, Criticism

8/26/2010 2:59:21 PM

Tags: religion, religious debate, secular humanism, new atheists, civility, spirituality, Keith Goetzman

Church signShould nonbelievers shy away from examining or criticizing the religious beliefs of the devout because it might offend them? Certainly not, writes senior editor Ronald A. Lindsay at Free Inquiry in his commentary “Expressing One’s Views on Religion”:

Religions make certain claims about reality, for example, that there is a god, there is an afterlife, and natural disasters constitute divine punishment. Believers assert these claims and in many cases try to persuade others to accept them. These claims should be subject to examination and criticism, just like any other claims about reality. In other words, there is no principled reason for placing religion off-limits. Religious claims and religious beliefs should be treated the same as claims and beliefs relating to physics, politics, or pottery. If we maintain that a religious belief is mistaken, unsupported, or vague to the point of being incomprehensible, we should feel free to say so. If the expression of our views offends a religious person, that person has no more right to tell us to keep quiet than a Democrat offended by criticism of President Barack Obama, a physicist offended by criticism of string theory, or a potter offended by criticism of the clay mixture in his or her earthenware.

Well aware that he’s wading into the debate stoked by the anti-religious fervor of the so-called new atheists, Lindsay proposes a measure of civility and religious tolerance tempered by the clear-eyed gaze of the secular humanist:

Of course, we must respect the religious. But respect is not manifested by treating the religious like children for fear they may be upset when someone questions their beliefs. That would be deeply insulting to our religious friends. They are our peers in all relevant respects, intellectually, morally, and otherwise. As fellow members of our moral community, they are entitled to have their beliefs treated seriously; they are entitled to have their beliefs probed, questioned, and critically examined; they are entitled to work with us in our efforts to understand reality.

Source: Free Inquiry

Image by au_tiger01, licensed under Creative Commons.



Related Content

The Vintage Newsroom: Typewriters, Teletype Machines, and Glue Fumes

It's humbling to peer backwards into history at the process of producing a newspaper or magazine in ...

Giving Up Art for Lent

During Lent this year, some Christians will give up sweets or booze. Will Self, a secular humanist n...

No Home for Al Jazeera in North America

Despite Al-Jazeera’s international reputation for serious investigative reporting, Al-Jazeera Englis...

Freelancers Find a Friend in Gawker

Last month, when Viacom’s contract workers and freelancers learned that their benefits were getting ...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 

rodeen
9/21/2010 10:29:37 AM
Sue_6. I think I get it now. Clearly you are brilliant but I beleive you have been misled to think that you are something you are not. I think and correct me if I am wrong by fundamentalist you mean people who believe in the bible? There is only one church in God's ministry you are in it or not. But saying you are in it does not make it so. I also believe there are several bible churches in Manhattan that are not shunned. Heck you had liberals on here advocating a fundamentalist mosque in Manhattan so I dont know how you can say these places are looked down upon. By whom the Episcopalians? HA! They have become more of a Unitarian club than part of Christ Church.

rodeen
9/20/2010 10:40:46 AM
Sue_6. I am sure we totally disagree on matters of theology but I think are views are probably compatible as they pertain to a creator. I dont know of many people who argue micro-evolution but some macro ideas I dont subscribe to. I am also curious this word fundamentalist comes out all the time and I dont really know what that means. Christianity is pretty simple you are one or you are not. There are methodist, presbyterians, catholics, evangelicals, baptist etc. They are all Christian. There are not good or bad christians left or right just Christians. In Romans 14 Paul discusses disputable matters and that is where there is disagreement over issues that are not relevant to salvation. Anyway, I appreciate all of your post.

Sue_6
9/19/2010 11:17:08 AM
(Oh, a note on my comment below, to forestall possible misinterpretation...) I did not intend the quote below from "The Origin of Species" as proof of God, there being no such thing to our current knowledge, nor the reverse. Charles Darwin was an utterly magnificent scientist, but his opinions on God are opinions, as all ours are. Some are undoubtedly truer than others, but which those are is not knowable to us, at least yet. (Thus those who believe call it that, and speak of beliefs and faith. If they try invoke science as proof, they are no less wrong in that than atheists who try to do the same. Science will say something, if it has something to say on the matter; it is as much to share as to gain knowledge, and that is one of its dependable glories.)

Sue_6
9/18/2010 12:46:27 PM
@ rodeen again -- I am, you will have guessed, not by any stretch a fundamentalist Christian. (Though a Christian I am, and do not foresee any return to the atheism I was taught by my parents. Brainwashing is no such easy thing as those who speak it as the clear and obvious reason why believers believe seem to believe. Despite all attempts American society and hapless parents make to convince kids marijuana is dangerous, they notice the truth and see their parents as overreactive and society a liar; and all American atheists were raised in a generally theist society, and many by quite religious parents; they do not believe as they were taught, and they of all people should know exactly how possible that is.) In any case, I am a fierce advocate of the teaching of evolution as science because it is. It does not conflict with a belief in God. Darwin's "The Origin of Species" is, if you like, the Bible of evolution: here is how it ends: "To my mind it accords better with what we know of the laws impressed on matter by the Creator, that the production and extinction of the past and present inhabitants of the world should have been due to secondary causes, like those determining the birth and death of the individual.... There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; and that...from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful and most wonderful have been, and are being evolved."

Sue_6
9/18/2010 11:43:40 AM
Who can answer me this believably may well convince me that science is incompatible with religion. Have a go at it; anyone who has not decided that anyone who believes in God must do so only because they must be ignorant of science and reason and have no wish to be otherwise; i.e., too ignorant to reason with. Others, reason with me; it works. If science disproves religion, why has it never said so? More pointedly and specifically, why did, say, Dawkins not publish his book on religion as a scientist should publish science -- in a peer-reviewed science journal? I think it is because no such journal would have published it. And I think he knew that very well ... he did not even try; and what academic scientist forgoes the chance to publish their good science in a good journal--especially on such an important question that if it *were* science, he would undoubtedly get a Nobel? I think he is a fine evolutionary biologist and no theologian; his book on religion does not pass the bar science sets for something worthy of publication as science, because being a good scientist does not make one's opinion on non-science of any more interest or worthy of any more credence than his opinion on the differential aesthetics associated with women's breast sizes. He knows it; the scientific community knows it; he knew they knew it; he did not try to pass off to scientists what he can, apparently, pass off to atheists as science, and is not properly ashamed to do so as a scientist.

Sue_6
9/18/2010 10:44:14 AM
Sorry, dhale, I got your handle wrong via a typo, and I don't see an edit function here.

Sue_6
9/18/2010 10:29:30 AM
@ dhale73 Believe it or not, you could share them with me and not be mocked or even criticized at all. I understand that atheism is a valid -- not necessarily the correct, but a valid -- point of view. There is no way to know; we choose our beliefs according to temperament and very personal life experience. and who can gainsay another's temperament and life experiences? I will never call an atheist provably wrong, or an idiot, or brainwashed; I only long for the same acknowledgment.

Sue_6
9/18/2010 10:16:18 AM
@ Rodeen My grateful thanks for your kind remarks. Correcting the most egregious outright errors of what I call "proseltyizing athiets" (to distinguish them from the kind who leave me alone and at minimum to whom I am happy to return the favor; at maximum, many are or have been friends) is a thankless business; they do not want to be corrected, even politely, because they do not want to know they are wrong about anything. In that they are as bad as any devotee of any religion who will not hear a fact that would make him wiser. So I only do it occasionally. I would not do it at all except seeing lies repeated is galling. (I may disappoint you be being an adversary of teaching anything but evolution in public-school science classes. But then when he came up with the theory, Darwin himself was not just a Christian, he was by his own admission much more the Bible-thumping type than I. The two (Xtianity and a devotion to science) are not incompatible.)

rodeen
9/15/2010 1:35:09 PM
Your right I think society would be better off if we never had public debates and just surrounded our selves with like minded people so as to never offend anyone. Please, let me know when the hate starts I have been in on this thread from the begining and not heard hatred from either side! People are going to disagree, and on sensitive issues like this strongly. This is a big boy world if you cant debate with out getting your feelings hurt you should find a site where everyone agrees and see how long that takes to get boring.

ThisJourneyofMine
9/15/2010 11:47:24 AM
It's always so grand that these conversations never amount to anything other than people wanting to vent their hatred for other people, no matter which side you're on. Lovely, just lovely.

rodeen
9/15/2010 9:36:40 AM
dhale, I appreciate your thoughts and your reasoning seems to indicate a kind compassion instead of aloof pitty that most athiest try to permiate. In regards to your children I understand not wanting any doctrine shoved down there throat particularly at school. However you seem to almost envy the comfort faith brings believers so why would you want to deny them the option? Maybe you dont and if that is the case I apologize.

dhale72
9/14/2010 8:59:55 PM
I won't share my reasons for being an atheist with those who believe. I've grieved as an atheist, which is bereft of consolations. The believers I've known to have lost someone have had a much easier go of it. So I've opted out of the debate, which actually has saved me some hassles. The evangelists that coming knocking don't leave happy, but they leave quickly. So long as they can manage to keep their doctrine out of my child's classroom ( I live less than an hour from the courthouse of where the Scopes Monkey Trial was held)

Greg
9/14/2010 5:01:34 PM
What do a dead atheist and a Christian have in common? They both believe in God

rodeen
9/14/2010 12:39:49 PM
WOW Sue you are really making the rounds. I saw you took my friend Shirley down a notch or two in another thread. She is another one who just regurgitates the same talking points handed down to the minions by there God hating athiest handlers. You should visit some of there web sites and witness the brainwashing, lies, and fabricated facts they pass off for science. It is really facsinating to witness.

rodeen
9/13/2010 11:00:05 AM
Phenomonal post Sue. I would love to add something but you hit the nail on the head with wonderful brilliant and original thoughts unlike the same old lame athiest montra of atWilliam.

Sue_6
9/12/2010 8:00:41 PM
And back atWilliam in turn -- I most certainly have not chosen "to remain ignorant of the broader world." You rather curiously speak as though you were not ignorant of me; you are, however, in all respects save that I have said I am no longer an atheist, and a few other remarks. (I could be lying there too, though I am not.) This is one of the assumptions that is most strange and culpable in proselytizing atheists of the trollish sort -- note I do not say all atheists; some are very keen -- and does you no credit. Intellectually least of all. Posts by atheists accusing the majority of my species read exactly like posts by misogynists; both annoy in the same way; it is peculiarly maddening to be condescended to on intellectual grounds by people who are saying far more foolish things than I even could. I am as ignorant of the world as anyone with a superb education and a Pulitzer nomination in science journalism. I was obviously not brainwashed -- my parents did their best to raise me a good secular humanist in a like community; I did not stay as secular as I did good and human. Their ideology did not fit my experience of life; nor is it a scientific theory -- I would know if it were at once; I get the science journals and/or digests of same before they are published, having pledged to uphold an embargo as other science reporters do. And I would be greatly interested. Know what you speak of before you speak, and you will speak with less ignorance.

atWilliam_1
9/12/2010 6:48:00 PM
Sue, it's not that atheist "...do not understand how one could entertain spiritual belief". I was raised Lutheran, my parents were not fundamentalist but were active in church. It was only as an adult, becoming enlightened through education, both formal and self guided, that my mind opened to the idea that God did not, could not exist. I am atheist because I see religion as a form of socially accepted brain washing. I can understand the comfort in choosing to remain ignorant of the broader world and allowing religion/spirituality to fill the voids, but that doesn't mean I can accept it or want to be part of it.

Sue_6
9/11/2010 11:38:37 AM
It is of course fair to criticize claims, but beliefs are beliefs. Many beliefs are valid but not provable, especially in the face of the kind of skepticism that cannot relent and has discounted one's credibility already and entirely. Atheists -- not agnostics; we are all agnostics -- do not understand how one could entertain spiritual belief, and they do not wish to; the question is closed for them. Yet. You may believe truly your wife loves you. And be on firm ground even though you could not ever convince anyone who thinks your experience, insights, instincts, and judgment completely untrustworthy -- though they do not know you or have a way to judge. Spiritual beliefs are not science; they are not provable as science is; nor are many kinds of human truth. (The religiously skeptical may more readily accept that personal experience, literature, philosophy, musical and visual arts, mathematics, and so on may have a truth to them even if not the sort that a peer-reviewed journal deals in. Tho' they cannot comprehend spirituality in an intelligent, thoughtful and informed person.) My faith is faith; my beliefs beliefs -- I do not put them forward as things anyone else should believe unless they find me creditable. Atheists know nothing of me yet dismiss me as a brainwashed sheep w/out the capacity for reason; tho' I was raised an atheist, am a very good science journalist, do not proselytize, am a progressive who hates fundamentalist extremists in all ways. I dismiss that.

Occum
9/5/2010 9:42:53 AM
This lead me (and yourself) to an agreement that the Jewish understanding of the prophecies went unfulfilled. I think you may have misread what I wrote.

rodeen
9/3/2010 4:33:28 PM
We are not in agreement about the prophesy being fulfilled. Infact some prophesy that was fulfilled no longer exist in the Torah.

Occum
9/2/2010 5:44:09 PM
Thanks for the clarification. There is lots of back and forth regarding whether or not the specific person Jesus (or whatever moniker one prefers) ever exsisted. Because of my upbringing I find all arguments are possible until they become BOD (benefit of the doubt)plausible. There are many variables to be considered. I find (like in detective work) that the most feasible explanations don't deviate greatly (simple like Occums Razor.) This lead me (and yourself) to an agreement that the Jewish understanding of the prophecies went unfulfilled. Which exponentially creates greater and greater cause for apology. It's fun like CSI (complete nonsense but fun watching.) Okay I am backing off because I am finding myself too paranthetical. I will let you know when I set up a GMail account (hopefully soon... damn another paranthesis.) I look forward to hearing more.

rodeen
9/2/2010 1:25:53 PM
The specific claims I am referring to are that either A)The story of Jesus is a compliations of Greek and Egyptian mythological characters B) That maybe Jesus never existed. And for our back and forth purposes I would suggest the claims made that Jesus did not fulfill old testament prophesy (althoug this arguement holds more water than the first two)

Occum
9/2/2010 1:15:46 PM
I would love to have any information you can give me. I do not have a GMail account but I will create one just for this purpose. Having grown up in a predominently jewish area (both orthodox and conservative) with many many jewish friends I have a fair insight into practices and beliefs. I need some clarification regarding the claims you refered to in your last post. Also, if you have not already seen it there is a web site called the Jesus Police that has some incredibly knowledgeable folks on it. Of course, you will have to weed through alot of inane rambling also (fortunatley none of it mine.) Any sites you can share would be appreciated. I agree this forum probably should not be used for this so if you want to take it elsewhere we could probably work something out. 'Til then be well.

rodeen
9/2/2010 9:02:26 AM
Occum, The amount of information I have to refute all of these claims might be to much for this board. All of the claims are addressed Herakles, Asklepios, the Dioscuri, Dionysos, and a dozen others I could name? If you would like maybe you could create a gmail account so I could email this to you and address the other questions with the thouroughness they deserve. If you are not really that interested that is okay to. I am not sending you a book but probably 10 minutes of reading or so. What I would like to ask, if all of these claims are foolishness which any credible scholar secular or other wise would say. Then why are claims like this still so popular? Why is there an ad on this very page that sells movies with these ridiculous claims? Claims that have been dismissed by generations of historians and no doubt will be perpetuated for generations to come? These are extremely important questions. On a side note I do find it amusing how they market this like they discovered this new astounding revelation that will once and for all put an end to Christianity. Pilate had a similar amount of success.

rodeen
9/1/2010 3:31:33 PM
Occum you hit on some topics that are right in my wheel house. Please check in tomorrow as I will address these in detail. I have to run right now. I am actually closely affilitated with Jews for Jesus there is also an anti Jews for Jesus website you can check out if you would like for me to address any of those problems. The other thing I would really like to discuss is the myth that Jesus is some sort of combination of greek pagan Gods. The scholarship that goes into that claim ( and I dont blame you for bringing it up people say it all the time and then it just becomes true with out anyone verifying the validity of those claims. But it sure sounds good.) There is an ad on this site I would not repeat anything that is on that site with serious people. Finally for today I would like to ad I am not trying to bash you or anyone on this board I just think it is fun trying to better understand why we beleive what it is we believe. Thanks Octagon of Occoom,

Occum
9/1/2010 3:18:50 PM
Good points. I have never been to the middle east. Although I am sure it is overwhelming with history. The conversation about religion to me is spattered with varying degrees of true discovery, tainted interpretations and flat out wild dissonance. The human brain is an incredible adaptation device that can translate things in many ways. However, extrapolations on many of the bibles written citings lose their momentum when tested. I heard someone once ask if Jesus healed sick people whey didn't he ever give an amputee another limb? Good question from a point of logic. Is it just coincedence that Christianity mimics several older pagan followings? Why do most followers of Judaism rail against Jews for Jesus saying none of the prophecies were fulfulled therefore Yahweh cannot be the messiah. For those who claim the Bible and many of its writings are not literal but designed to provide stories of moral code and ideas for managing ones life I ask what about Aesops fables? Are they less credible? Lastly, (in my writing) but not leastly, why did the Romans adopt a following they held as a resistance to the Empire (as they did regarding all other followings?) There is a theory that Christianity was used as an "if you can't beat them be them" tool. Therefore, Christianity, in turn, is the defacto insurance policy that the Roman empire would exsist as long as Christianity is in tact. All interesting debates and theories. Mine is easier.

rodeen
9/1/2010 9:18:54 AM
I should clarify two points. One I agree on the respect that should be given to everyones beliefs but certainly all beleifs be it athiest, Buddhist or my Christian faith should all be subject to critism. I think accepting it is taking it a bit to far. I respect that some muslims want there wife to where Burkas I dont accept that they should make mine where one. My point is tolerance is not the be all end all of morality. My second point is that, and I am not accusing you of doing this but people often imply that the bible has been manipulated and changed over time. I recently returned from an arch dig in Israel and what is amazing to me is how little Americans are told about the reliability of that book. If it was made up or manipulated it is the most astonishing feet in the history of mankind the likelyhood of the consistency's of that made up story....well it would be astronomical. Then other discoveries such as David's Palace (somewhat disputed) or the Dead Sea Scrolls. Amazing discoveries. We take for granted that the illiad was produced in its current form by Homer but there is far more evidence of the reliability of the new testament writers.

Occum
8/31/2010 4:45:03 PM
Rodeen, Wow, Lots to think about in your posts. Very observant and provacative ideas that make the brain do what it was intended for. Fortunately, the Utne forum has more thought out views that allow for the understanding and exploration of the complexity of life rather than obstinance. My personal view on religion/belief/philosphy is much like Bill Maher's response to the same question....I don't know. This response is scary and frustrating to many people I speak to, however, it is very liberating to me. It allows me to live a life true to the possiblities. I treat people with respect and dignity because it is good for me. If there is an after life, Bonus, if not, Bonus (but here on Earth.) Its a win win. Conversely, if I live according to the "rules" dictated by people I don't know from thousands of years of manipulation, power struggles and agendas I have not been privy to I can not be free to allow the course of a possible higher powers teachings. Although, I am not Jewish (born and raised Irish catholic ouch) I agree with their law (forgive me for not knowing the correct term) that you can only answer to God personally. So that is my belief system when the lights go out. I did not waste time bowing and groveling to some version of a mortal mans understanding of God but kept true to the freedom an unknown God gave me. If there is neither I still win because I played this according to what I know. Sounds alot like Pascals wager sort of in reverse No?

rodeen
8/31/2010 11:14:58 AM
Earlier I accused Occum of being off topic and I was wrong. Let the critism flow. I think saying you have Buddist tendency or what ever is silly. It is funny to me how if you are more or less an atheist you laugh at Judaeo Christian beliefs but you beleive in a cosmic source of what goes around comes around. Am I the only one who sees an irony there? I am far more critical of people who believe in a nice God who is waiting to reward us for all of our righteousness regardless of our faith. Than I should be of my friend Shirley on here who at least has the courage to admit she believes in nothing. There is a far better arguement for atheism than there is for a feely goody source of energy that will bless us all for being nice to one another. In regards to the last post and to Occum I agree we are all entilted to our own opinion and our beliefs should not enfrige on other rights but that does not mean I think it is okay for you to smoke crack in your basement because you are only hurting your self.

Rhena
8/31/2010 9:57:45 AM
I try to be respectful of others religious beliefs. Most of them use their beliefs for comfort and to understand all of the horrible things in our world. Somehow I have picked up some Buddhist beliefs, I have always thought that what I put out there will come back to get me. (Though all of the nice things I have put out there haven't come back to me....hmmmmm?) I guess the reason I am like this is that my grandmother was so devoted and she didn't have a bad bone in her body. Her religion gave her peace and comfort. Maybe that is a naive way of looking at things, but it is a matter of respecting each other. This would be a much better world if people could just show basic respect for each other. You don't have to like what they say/think, but everyone is entitled to their opinion.

rodeen
8/30/2010 4:54:39 PM
Well put Occum.

Occum
8/30/2010 4:31:29 PM
I thank you for appreciating my mediocre attempts at humor and more importantly for being surprised my post was not more open minded. To explain (and you deserve one) I cited the quotes to try to point out that critisim of religion has been an ongoing dynamic for centuries and will probably continue that way ad infinitum(reference to the formula(s) changing.) I believe, as most here do, that belief or non-belief in a God is everyone's personal business and should be respected as such. I also believe that as science discovers more facts beliefs will evolve differently. I think it is important that people don't confuse belief in higher power with a debate over who the messenger is/was and what that message is. That, in my opinion has been the unfortunate purveyor of detrimental outcomes. Ironically, I think who ever created this playground suspected at some point there would be alot of down time and that we needed a puzzle to keep us busy. Now that is forsight. Peace.

rodeen
8/30/2010 3:56:22 PM
I dont believe what you did was critism. It was more like name calling. Which is fine and I dont really care if you do it just seemed odd coming from you. I view critism more like something along the lines of having to support claims that they make for say teaching creationism in school or marriage was invented by God. Tangible topics that are relevant to all of society. What you did was well you call it critisism I dont know what it was. What I was referring to is you said or how I took it was that religion has had to evolve it theology over the course of time to accomodate scientific discoveries. Now I am sure there is some evidence of that but I think you should site what that is, instead of stating it as fact and moving on. That happens way to much. Marshall islands LOL good. I do enjoy your post Occum.

Occum
8/30/2010 3:42:25 PM
I debate your criticism of my post on religion. Wait, that was the topic title. I am somewhat unclear regarding your opinion off being off topic. I am also not sure of what claims you think I am making. As for being planted here by people of the Marshall Islands (Marshans), Darwinians have never claimed that as fact.

rodeen
8/30/2010 2:10:10 PM
Occum I ususally enjoy your post but I have to admit this one is not only simple, but far off topic. It was as if you have been waiting for a chance to show religous people how intellectually superior you are with these two terribly clever quotes and although they dont really apply to this topic or thread it was close enough! Congrats Occum very impressive. Also if you are going to make claims such as the one you made you should note some examples. I for one am interested in how unveiling new science is causing darwinians to suggest we were planted here by Marshans. More on this please.

Occum
8/30/2010 1:30:06 PM
Two quotes from notable men of different times. Obviously, this debate has been going on for a long time. I believe as discovery progresses the questions will be the same about the existence of a higher power, however, the "known" religions will have to transition (as they have over time already) to other formulas. "Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the wise as false, and by rulers as useful." ~ Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the Younger," "Faith is believing in what you know ain't so." Samuel Clemens

san_1
8/30/2010 12:19:54 PM
in modern parlance, religion is a virtual reality which is kept alive by individuals who seek comfort and relief from their own humanity. it also fulfills the need for community and connection. while i believe in the individual's right to worship as he believes, i will always question and criticize those who use religion to violate other's rihhts or the sanctity of the earth a nd its creatures.

Lauri Lumby
8/30/2010 10:26:04 AM
As a trained, professional Spiritual Director and Lay Minister, one of the things I learned and have seen born out again and again is the very fact that it is only through questioning and challenging that we are ever able to grow spiritually and become mature individuals. Exploring, seeking, questioning and challenging religious beliefs is how we come to the knowledge of the deeper truths at the core of all institutional religions. If we wish to cultivate a spiritually mature species, seeking and questions should not only be encouraged, but facilitated. Lauri Lumby Authentic Freedom Ministries USA http://www.authenticfreedom.net

rodeen
8/30/2010 10:05:57 AM
Ralph I will be the first to admit I know nothing of Buddism. But what your describing sounds like philosophy not religion? I am also confused by what you mean "path to understanding?". It seems there is nothing to understand. Do you dismiss other religions? Surely you have to dismiss Judaism, Christianity and Islam?

Ralph Marshall
8/30/2010 9:47:29 AM
I'm a practicing Nichiren Buddhist, which puts me fairly on the left I suppose... Diversity is treasured in Buddhism because it is treasured in nature. The system most aligned with the universe (or God, if you will), most unencumbered by human confusion is nature, and nature is rich in diversity. This means that you are as important to the world as I am. There are no chosen people, no me versus you, no us against them. I don't worry about your path to understanding, I only worry about mine. It is important to stand against injustice but I must simultaneously eliminate my own hypocrisy. In this way, I purify my life, That purifies my relationship to work, family, friends, community, nature, civilization and the future. Cause and effect is the rule rather than the dispensation of grace. Like a rock tossed at a pond, ripples are guaranteed the moment it leaves your hand, even if you wished to take the act back. I cannot disrespect you (cause) because I do not want that to return to me (effect).

rodeen
8/30/2010 8:59:10 AM
I am on the religous right far right actually. To answer your question we read the bible and pray to attempt to know Gods thoughts. The sign is obviously a joke, a bad one and I would say insensitive. fundamental belief is that every human being is a child of God and God loves all of his children.

Marina
8/30/2010 8:41:17 AM
I would like to know how the pastor who said God doesn't believe in atheists,knows what God is thinking?Further more, surely God (if he/she/it exists) is not intimidated by unbelievers in him?

Dave Newport
8/30/2010 8:38:11 AM
If only those on the religious right would do likewise!



Pay Now & Save $5!
First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Want to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!