May 25, 2007
May 28, 2007

May 26-27, 2007

AND SPEAKING OF TERRORISM. . .

While America is pondering the new report on Muslims in the U.S. that I write about below, some folks in India on Saturday held a conference on "Islam and Terrorism." Here's a report. It's often helpful to hear how people in other parts of the world see all of this -- and see the U.S.

* * *

CHANGES URGED FOR VATICAN OFFICE

Pope Benedict XVI is coming under increasing pressure to reform the Vatican's doctrine office, which he once headed. It's the old issue of how to maintain sound and consistent theology and yet be open to new ways of expressing it. Has any faith community fully figured out how to do that?

* * *

A NEW PICTURE OF MUSLIMS IN AMERICA

If you were asked to describe the Muslim population of America in terms of size, demographics, assimilation and attitudes, what would you say?

Icofa7Think about that and then compare your answers to the findings of an interesting new survey done by the Pew Research Center. (By the way, the photo here today is one I took some months ago at the Islamic Center of America in Dearborn, Mich.) For the Christian Science Monitor's story about the new report, click here.

Several things about the survey stand out to me, including its estimate of the number of Muslims in this country. Many estimates range as high as 10 or 12 million, though most are in the 3 to 6 million range. But the Pew study came up with a figure of 2.35 million, including 1.5 million adults. For a story from the Jewish publication, The Forward, focusing on the numbers, click here.

In a conference call the day the survey was released on Tuesday, I asked the Pew folks to describe how they came up with such a low figure. The study's methodology, if you want to look it over, is described starting on page 57 of the report. My reading of the study is that it probably missed some -- but not a huge number -- of Muslim Americans. My own guess, after reviewing these figures, is that a better guess would be about 3 million or slightly above.

As Andy Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, acknowledged, "This obviously will not end the debate about how many Muslims there are."

One of the problems in counting Muslims, of course, is that Muslims don't count themselves in very rigid ways. The best estimates are made on the basis of mosque attendance, but even that is pretty slippery.

Other survey results are mostly good news, with some rather disturbing findings mixed in. Muslims generally are quite well assimilated into American life and share traditional American values. They're generally quite happy here (African-American converts less so than immigrants). And they are doing as well educationally and economically as most groups in the country.

But a larger percentage of younger Muslims display some sympathy for radical Islam than older Muslims. Fifteen percent of American Muslims between ages 18 and 30 believe suicide bombings sometimes is justfiable in defending Islam (compared with 6 percent of Muslims over 30).

Study directors said that doesn't mean the young people are about to engage in suicide bombings in Cleveland and Los Angeles. Rather, they said the responses to their questions mean the young people believe such actions may be justifiable elsewhere around the world when Muslims seem to have run out of less-violent options to defend themselves. Still, no matter how you explain it, that's a disturbing finding, as is the still-high percentage of Muslims who don't believe Arabs perpetrated the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

And yet, as Kohut asserted, "Overall, this (study) is a very, very positive story for the vast majority of Muslims (in America)."

Take a look at the report and see what else you find in it that you didn't know -- or thought you knew but find you are wrong about.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My Saturday column this weekend is about attachments one feels to former congregations and the buildings they use. I wrote it from my hometown of Woodstock, Ill.)

Comments

SC in KC

"It's the old issue of how to maintain sound and consistent theology and yet be open to new ways of expressing it."

I see the debate as something else. Rather than a debate over an expression of theology, it seems to be a debate over how Catholics determine doctrine, or the application of theological truths.

At its heart, the debate seems to be an administrative one. How should the Catholic church decide what is sound doctrine? Committee? Peer review? Proactive doctrinal decrees or reactive censure?

The church at Ephesus was no stranger to this issue, and Timothy received excellent advice from Paul in his second letter. Paul warned Timothy of those who would twist doctrine to suit their own wicked desires, and exhorted Timothy to remember where and how sound doctrine was to be found.

"But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work."
2 Timothy 3:14-17 (NIV)

Dolores Lear

In the time of Paul and Timothy, what was the Holy Scripture?
Was it different from the Christian Bible, and the Catholic Church Bible, as it was established after the Nicene Creed? Where did all the Books of the Bible come from? Were some written before Abraham, Scriptures also?

What are Holy Scriptures today? Scriptures of All religions on Earth, descendant from Adam and Eve? Or only the scriptures accepted by the different religions of Jews
Christians and Muslims? Do Christians Jews and Muslims have the same God?

On whose authority does it say the Christian Scriptures are more Holy than other religious Scriptures? The Jews? The Pope? Or Protestants? Or Southern Baptists? Or other denominations of Christianity?

What were the Scriptures 'in the beginning' of the Adam and Eve Society? When were the 10 Commandments given? To the Hebrew Children in the Wilderness, or to Adam and Eve? Are all Scriptures the result of Fallen Divided Humans? If so which God of all the religions since the Fall, gave them? The Father of Life on Earth?
How many Gods are there? One, or Three, or Many? Is, or, Are God/Gods, Spirit 'Beings' or Higher Human 'Beings'? What are Higher Human 'Beings'?

Are Scriptures man-made? How do Divided Humans decide which scriptures are from the One True GOD? Whose Word do we accept as Literal?

Are we ready to look at all Scriptres and Myth with a High Tech Literal translation, now that we again have High Tech knowledge? Could High Tech knowledge of Humans today that fly up in the air, and out into space, reveal all the mysteries of a supernatural God/Angels that looked like Humans, and flew up in the air, and out into space in past Scriptures? We do know today, how Humans in the image of God/Angels, fly in the air and up into Space/Heaven?

Dolores Lear

Bill's Column today in the K.C, Star, "Come Unstuck In Time", goes along with my post on Scripture.

It is time to not get 'unstuck' in the Time of Paul and Timothy and the Catholic church doctrines about God, and all doctrines about God all around our planet that were made in the Past.
Now we are in the High Tech Future and should use this information to understand the Past Superstitions that made many religions all around the planet, when people were divided without the High Tech communications, and travel and knowledge of our Home planet and Space travel. High Tech was on our Planet at least 2 times in the Past, at Colonization and in the Noah/Atlantis Society.

We do need a High Tech translation of our Past Killing Lifestyle, to understand our Future in Peace on Earth and in Peacful Spaceship travel. There can be High Tech Eternal Pure-bred Physical Life After Birth with a Peace Lifestyle, instead of the Killing Lifestyle we inherited from the past. Are we ready to 'Come Unstuck' from our Past, with the acceptance of the High Tech knowledge in All Scripture and Myth? What is the Word of God? Divided we Kill? Or United as One Society we have Peace?

United as Brothers/Sisters of Life, we Live. Divided as Enemies of our Brothers/Sisters of Life, we Die.

Dolores Lear

In my e-mail today, I received "An interesting lesson in history".
It lists countries since Russia in 1929 on up to 2006 in Australia, that put in gun control for awhile and killing increased in that country.
"You won't see this data on the American evening news or hear our president, governors or other politicians. Guns in the hands of honest citizens save lives and property and, yes, gun-control laws affect only the law abiding citizens. Take note my fellow Americans...before it's too late! The next time someone talks in favor of gun control, please remind them of this history lesson. "With guns, we are 'citizens' Without them, we are 'subjects'. If you valaue your freedom, Please spread this aniti-gun control message to all of your friends."

Now we have built nuclear bombs to protect us from our Brother/Sister enemies, but they have them also. When has having guns or weapons of any kind protected citizens from war and killing? People can be killed without guns or bombs, but there would be a lot less killing without them for everyone. How many people have died in Iraq, in the past 4 years, ours and theirs.

I cannot understand how the USA goes around the world saying another country cannot have nuclear bombs, but we will not destroy our own. Disarming will not stop killing, like banning guns did not stop killing in other countries. But a nuclear war should be stopped. We have used atomic bombs twice, like the Noah/Atlantis Society used them in Soddom and Gomorrah. Who will be next to use them? Until humans understand they are also made of Atoms, and why they are Genetically born killers instead of High Tech born peacemakers, we will continue the killing Nature of Birth of our Brothers/Sisters and our Home Planet, until no Life can Live here, like Mars another planet.

Physical Life is for the Living, After Birth, not after Death.

Ron

"It's the old issue of how to maintain sound and consistent theology and yet be open to new ways of expressing it. Has any faith community fully figured out how to do that?"

Certainly not mainline Protestant denominations. The way they express their theology today bears absolutely no resemblance to the their historic doctrinal beliefs.

Ron

In case anyone missed it, Rosie O'Donnell's recently gave voice on national TV to the liberal Democratic belief that US soldiers are responsible for 600,000 deaths in Iraq. It resulted in her immediate departure from "The View." I was surprised to see this. I know a number of people on this blog and many, many, many Democrats also believe this a well. I wonder why the liberals in the media and government didn't rush to Rosie's defense? Liberals evidently have not yet convinced mainstream America that US soldiers are terrorists who have killed 600,000 civilians in Iraq, but I'm sure they will continue to try and do so.

Just Thinking

That's right, SC, tradition definitely counts. If the Catholic Church had followed tradition, then they would not be doing infant Baptisms. Jesus didn't Baptize infants. There is nowhere in the New Testament any story of infant Baptism.

So why did infant Baptism occur? Because there was a perceived need to Baptize infants after the Church decided that original sin was something real and had to be atoned for by each individual. Everybody with a brain at all knows that's ridiculous on the face of it: God holds people responsible for their own sins, not for the sins of others, especially to eternal detriment. It's absurd on the face of it and violates all reasonable notions of God's justice and mercy.

Of course the next problem you have is that now you have to claim that infant Baptism actually saves you, or that Baptism alone saves you. That's another absurdity that was never preached by the apostles or Jesus. We should just set up dunking booths and "save" everyone. Why do anything else? Hahahahahaha.

But there comes a point where you cannot salvage such bad theology. That point came recently when Pope Benedict had to admit that there is theological and liturgical reason to hope that some will be saved without Baptism. Unfortunately, that directly contradicts the Catholic belief that born of water means Baptism. So then you contrive the fairy tale that God will do the Baptism after death for those who could not! It just gets worse and worse and worse.

corbin

Wow,
Big surprise that Tuebingen and Louven theologians are wanting the CDF to change. The eternal struggle, dogmatism vs. progressivism vs. orthodoxy. There is always room for a little change but this seems like a PR ploy. The CDF under Ratzinger was nothing like the office of the Inquisition other than the fact that he would come out and let people know when theologians like Curran et al. were teaching error, which they were. This article makes it seem like the CDF micromanages theology which is completely untrue. These are dissidents who are attempting to displace orthodoxy with novelty. From the Ratzinger Fan Club.."Putting the smackdown on heresy since 1982"

Dolores Lear

Sorry Ron.
Rosie has defenders, and she has many irons in the pot. Larry king on his show said they had a question who agreed with Rosey and who agreed with Hazelhoff. 50+% agreed with Rosy, 40+% with Hazelhoff.

Why many Americans agree with Rosy, they are not blaming the soldiers and neither did she. She questioned the killing in Iraq of our Soldiers and Iraqis since we invaded that country, and said who are the terrorists?
She gave the impression it was the USA, not the soldiers.

Saddam did keep the terrorist out, but now they are really there. Bush did not go in their to start all this mess, but we are there now and how do we get out?
How does the rest of the world see the USA? As Democracy builders or terrorists?
Why are so many people against us? The resources to try to build an American Embassy and a democracy there is massive. Who is going to pay for this with the tax cuts? I doubt the income from taxes takes care of the output for the war and occupation.

Why are we borrowing so much money, if taxes pays our bills? How much bigger can our war chest grow before we are bankrupt?

Dolores Lear

Another news item in K.C. Star today. Editorial.
"A Costly New Underclass Is Now Being Imported" By George Will."

Is Underclass the new name for immigrants? Does this make 4 Classes for the USA? Rich Class, Middle Class, Poor Class and now Under Class?

It seems to me Humans Can keep on finding ways, to keep Dividing our Brothers/Sisters of Life with Inhumanity and Name designations.
Maybe we can blow up our Planet to End this Fallen Unequal Human Species, Knowledge does not seem to work.

openmind

Rosie represents all liberal Democrats about as well as Big Bird represents all canaries.

Come one Ron, don’t use her as a representative. People like her hurt the legitimate debate in the same way Billy O does. Trust me Ron, I don’t agree with that statement, and I call out stupid libs the same way I call out stupid conservatives.

I just wish we could have debate without all of the emotional rhetoric that is really just for entertainment purposes.

Just Thinking

Dolores,

Once you set out to get money, then there is never enough. If you live in Mission Hills, then you'll want to live in Malibu. If you live in Malibu, then you'll want a second home in Martha's Vineyard. When money becomes your goal, there is no end to it.

We're a wealthy nation. Our CEOs used to make 100 times the average worker's salary in the 1970s. Now they make 400 times the average worker's salary. But it's not enough. So you have to find workers outside this country to exploit. The Boeing Company no longer makes the wings of their aircraft ... it's all done overseas where it's cheaper. They sell out our future and our security for a little more wealth.

But the migrant worker problem is insidious. Those who are profiting are leaving everyone else to mop up the mess in this country. People with no health care and no money will call an ambulance for the flu and go to the emergency room for treatement. The rich oppressors don't suffer, but the rest do. Hopsital emergency rooms are closed because they can't survive it. Social services are strained. Our schools leave everyone behind in order to accomodate those who are horribly unprepared. All the while, the rich get tax breaks and the poor go off to war.

But the worst part is that people are exploited. God will judge oppressors by their excess wealth someday. Their excesses will be used as evidence against them.

James 5
1 Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. 2 Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. 3 Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. 4 Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty. 5 You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. 6 You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you.

Ron

Openmind, I'm glad to hear that you don't agree with Rosie (and Bill O, especially when it comes to theology/Catholcism...he routinely makes crazy statements about Catholic doctrine that can't possibly to true).

Unfortunately, many members of Congress, the entertainment industry and the media agree with Rosie. She may not have the masses on her side, but she definitely has the elite liberals in her corner.

openmind

She may not have the masses on her side, but she definitely has the "elitist" liberals in her corner.

fix'd :)

Ruth from Tucson

It's the old issue of how to maintain sound and consistent theology and yet be open to new ways of expressing it. Has any faith community fully figured out how to do that?

NO

And since all faith organizations are made up entirely of us quirky humans, we won't.

But when we imperfect humans admit our limitations and come together to do the best we can, there is hope for the world.

Ron

"It's the old issue of how to maintain sound and consistent theology and yet be open to new ways of expressing it. Has any faith community fully figured out how to do that?"

Why do I get an uneasy feeling that "finding new ways to express theology" is code for finding ways to explain away sin? Why do we need "new ways" of expressing theology." What's wrong with the traditional way of expressing theology?"

Just Thinking

Don't worry, Ron. Nobody is going to deprive you of the Lutheran fun of sending unbaptized infants to hell. The discussion focuses on theology that starts off sound. Notice the word "maintain?"

Ron

Thanks, JT. That's a relief. I thought for a moment someone was trying to change doctrine to allow women priests, homosexual marriage, etc.

Dolores Lear

J.T.
I think there are a lot of Christians that do not know the Bible verses against striving to have more than their Brothers/Sisters of Life. It seem to me like religion today, teaches you to strive for material wealth as the proof that God is Blessing us, instead of what Jesus taught. This is just the opposite of what Jesus taught of Sharing Eqally, and not Killing. Are our Brothers/Sisters of God/Life only the ones that believe like we do, and the rest are our Enemy?

Glad we have this Blog to post our frustrations, or beliefs, about what we grew up believing as to what Jesus taught, and what we believe and is taught today.
In our little corner of the web, we get many thoughts from mostly Christians, with different viewpoints.
Will Protestants ever be able to be one 'Christ'ian Church, and also be one 'Christ'ian Church with Catholics? What is a Christian?

Just Thinking

Ron wrote: "I thought for a moment someone was trying to change doctrine to allow women priests, homosexual marriage, etc."

Of course not. As long as they're Lutheran, you can send them to hell, too. In fact, that might be enough reason for Lutherans to change their practices. I can imagine you salivating at the thought of it already.

I misspoke earlier. The pagan (unborn) infants that die do not all get to be sent by Lutherans to hell, though, Ron. Keep that in mind. There is a queue for them. The good news is that the Catholics long ago removed themselves from this queue. So that means more fun for the Lutherans! And what with abortions up these days, that's even better news for the Lutherans--you'll get your share of those babies to send to hell, too. How your Church will divvy them up is their business; so, unfortunately, I can't guarantee how many you will personally get to send to hell.

(I am laughing as I write, just in case you can't tell.)

Ron

JT, what are your thoughts about 12 year olds going to hell?

Just Thinking

The cut-off age is 12.5. Everyone up to that age remains in the "send me to hell" queue right along with the infants if they die. I'll bet you're excited. Huh? Huh?

(I'm still laughing.)

Ron

Babies going to hell are no different than 12 1/2 year olds going to hel. Or, 15-year-olds, or 26-year-olds, or 84-year-olds. Hell is hell, no matter how old you are. We all deserve to be in hell, no matter what age we are. It's a sad end for people of all ages.

Just Thinking

Yes, Dolores, it is unfortunate that unconstrained capitalism has become more of a religion right in this country than just about anything.

The want of money is the root of all Corporate policy. In most of our largest corporations, there is no constraint of morality or what's good for our nation, our environment, or anything else. It's all bottomline thinking, which is why this is true for nearly all of our largest corporations: The want of money is the root of all Corporate policy.

Ron

"--you'll get your share of those babies to send to hell, too."

God sends people to hell, JT. Take it up with Him.

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