July 21-22, 2007, weekend
July 24, 2007

July 23, 2007

CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS?

Pope Benedict XVI issued a new call for peace yesterday, calling wars "useless slaughters," in an echo of a pope's words 90 years ago. You have to wonder why the voices calling for peace don't just give up and go home once they've read history. I don't want them to give up, but I do wonder why they don't.

* * *

A HOPEFUL MUSLIM-AMERICAN VOICE

I'm often asked -- often in a hostile tone -- why traditional Muslims don't speak out more often and with more passion about the radicals who claim to operate in Islam's name.

Actsfaith200Well, I agree that Islam clearly is in a struggle for its heart and soul, and -- despite some troubling statistics about young American Muslims who have sympathy for suicide bombers (I discussed that in this May entry)-- I often think it's Muslims in America who will create a model for how Islam can prosper and be a healthy and constructive force in the human community.

That's why I was pleased a few days ago to listen to an interview on National Public Radio's "Talk of the Nation" shows that featured a young and articulate American Muslim named Eboo Patel.

Patel is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation. He's also of a group called Interfaith Youth Core.

In the NPR interview, he said that the people of various faiths who are part of Interfaith Youth Core are sure they have found the right religion and some of the IYC members probably believe other members will spend eternity in hell, but despite that they all can and do agree that they can work together to accomplish such important social goals as improving housing for poor people.

The NPR link I've given you has an excerpt from Patel's book. I encourage you to give it a read because I agree with him that "one of the most important questions of our time" is this: "In a world of passionate religiousity and intense interaction, how will people from different faith backgrounds engage one another?"

Some days, reading the comments left on this blog, I become pessimistic about whether it's possible for people of differing beliefs to treat one another with respect and civility. But I haven't given up hope. And hearing a rational voice like Patel's gives me courage.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here.

Comments

Dolores Learg

The past History is about wars and rumors of wars, since the Fall of Humans 'in the beginnig'. We cannot break this curse of dying, until we know what the 'Fall' was about.
What does 'useless slaughter' mean? What does Higher 'Beings' and Lower 'Beings' mean? Human Beings? Are there two Human 'natures' of Human Beings, Higher and Lower, or is one nature Spirit 'Beings'? Were the Gods in the Christian Bible that walked and talked and looked like Humans, Spirits?

K.C. Star, 7/23/07. "Ruth Was Worth 'More Than Rubies'" By Billy Graham. "Thank you for your concern and your prayers. Yes, I will miss her very much (as will all our family) but we rejoice that she is now safely home in heaven, where "There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain" (Revelation 21:4). - She also was a wonderful mother. Her task wasn't easy since I was away from home so much, but she handled our children with love and wise discipline. She felt it was her calling, and without her willingness to bear the major responsibility for raising our children, my work simply would not have been possible. - The Bible says, "A wife of noble character who can find? She is worth far more than rubies" (Proberbs 31:10). Those words perfectly describe Ruth. Although I will miss her more than I can possibly say, I rejoice that someday soon we will be reunited in the presence of the Lord she loved and served so faithfully. Is your hope in him?"

"No more death or mourning or crying or pain". This describes a High Tech Pure-bred Eternal Human Lifestyle After Birth on planets and in spaceships, not a Spirit Lifestyle or whatever lifestyle that is, in Heaven After Death.

Is the Lord Billy mentions, Jesus or the Father? I think most Christians are talking about Jesus as Lord. In the Old Testament the Lord was the Creator. Is Jesus really Dead and in Heaven? Or is he Alive in a Physical Body, out in Space? Did he really assend into Heaven/Space Alive, in a Physical Body? It is possible to explain this supernatural event with High Tech Knowledge.

It is time to see the hypocrisy in these teachings of Life after Death, as it is to say a marriage needs a husband and wife at home to raise a child. Billy proved it was not necessary, as many married men and women also prove. Look at the people in Congress and traveling salespeople. Many busy parents can be home physically, but absent also for their Children.

High Tech Knowledge can explain all these mysteries we have lived with for 6,000 years, since the Fall.
Are we ready to use this High Tech Knowledge, that was on Earth 'in the beginning' and during the Noah/Atlantis Society, for Life? Instead we use it for the Nuclear Bombs and Nuclear Waste today, to kill all Life on Earth and our Eco System? Why are Humans Unequal Killer, who were supposed to be the Equal Caretakers of Life on Earth?

What Life are we looking for? Is there Eternal Life After Death? Or, will the Dead become Alive again on our Earth?
There is Eternal Pure-bred Physical Human Life After Birth on planets and in spaceships?

Life as we know it is for the Living, not the Dead.

Just Thinking

America attacked an innocent nation when we went into Iraq. There were no weapons of mass destruction--that was pure slander. Hussein was not supporting Al Qaeda--also pure slander. Our malice and hatred toward Iraq after 9/11 blinded us to the point where we were able to launch a war against a people who had not harmed us and were incapable of doing so.

The American conscience is seared, and it seems there is no way for us to ever admit that we were morally wrong in starting such a war. So, just as an individual who fights against their own conscience, we find fault, assess blame, and rationalize our wrongdoing in bizarre and twisted ways as we resist the moral voices. This nation is doomed to become isolated from the world community, and to sink to the status of a second-rate nation. The rest of the world has lost respect for this country and we're digging in our heels against their condemnation of us.

Germany followed along a similar path and was eventually chastised so harshly by the rest of the world that it, in it's stubborn and self-righteous indignation, launched a war against the entire world. I pray that is not where we are headed, but it is the path of stubborn, unrepentant bullies who stop listening to the moral voices and are shunned by those around them.

The Pope's call to stop our fighting sounds like the voice of an insane, insignificant man to this country, but it is a moral outcry against what we have been doing. This country will not hear anything of it. War is what we want and we will find a way to continue in it and look good in our own eyes, regardless of the cost to the spiritual well-being of this nation, and regardless of the loss of respect that we suffer in the eyes of the rest of the world. WEEEE are America, and WEEEE can do no wrong. The greatness in people or nations is not in their perfection, but also in their handling of error.

Joe Barone

Bill, I appreciated your thoughts on the comments in the blog. You begin today talking about war and end talking about our own comments. In some ways, both seem to me to have the same roots. I don't know exactly what those roots are, but if we can't talk civilly to one another in a minor situation such as this, why should we expect nations to forgo war?

Joe Barone

As an afterthought, the matter of uncivil comments doesn't apply just to this blog. It has happened to the Unfettered Letters blog (and probably others) too. Sometimes I wonder if people don't turn up the rhetorical heat just to run more moderate people off.

Just Thinking

Joe, nations don't forgo war unless you keep leaders in check. Think about Nazi Germany and how that evolved. The radical pro-war, pro-persecution forces were left unopposed by "moderates," and they took over. Moderate is just another word for uninvolved, especially in today's climate of war against a nation that did not do anything to justify our full-scale invasion of them.

Patricia

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Patricia

"Think about Nazi Germany and how that evolved."

Yes, THINK about Nazi Germany and how it evolved. It was convinced that its views were so morally righteous that a group of people could and should be isolated and persecuted.

If you think that you are selling anyone the notion that you are nobly fighting for right, JT.......well, you haven't sold us because.....you're NOT.

I've asked you before to put the strength of your convictions in a face-to-face meeting. I'm sure there are others on the blog who would join us. When and where would you like to meet?

Just Thinking

You assert that I am not fighting for what is right, and then you want to meet?

You're an arrogant, judgmental hypocrite. You can't get through three sentences without contradicting your own motives AND your own values.

Patricia

So it should give you great pleasure to call me an arrogant, judgmental hypocrite to my face.

When and where would you like to meet?

PreacherDJ

Mr. Tammeus,
You are operating under wishful thinking, a delusion of the true nature of Islam. You have the traditional Muslims and the radicals switched around. The traditional, orthodox Muslims are the ones pursuing jihad against the likes of Westerners. It is the radicals that are claiming Islam in name only and trying to get along peacably with the rest of the world. Check out http://www.onenewsnow.com/2007/07/new_documentary_challenges_sen.php for more.

Just Thinking

Patricia, what would be gained from a meeting with someone who starts their invitation by insisting that I do not fight for what is right, but have some other motive. "If you think that you are selling anyone the notion that you are nobly fighting for right, JT.......well, you haven't sold us because.....you're NOT." Ooooh, but to make it more enticing, your continue with a challenge to some kind of personal face-to-face duel: "I've asked you before to put the strength of your convictions in a face-to-face meeting." Then you claim that I would want to meet you just so that I could take pleasure in calling you "an arrogant, judgmental hypocrite to my face." I don't take pleasure in that--it's the truth. You arrogantly and judgmentally decided that you can look right into my soul and decide that I do not fight for what is right, but that I have some other motive. And then, of course, you can look into my soul and know that I would get pleasure out of telling you that face-to-face. You claim that people should not judge, but that's about as judgmental as it gets when you think you can look into my soul and see that, and that makes you a hypocrite to your own values. Just make up your own conversation, Patricia. You know everything about my soul and how I think, and that should be no problem. Save us both the time.

Just Thinking

PreacherDJ,

Osama Bin Laden represents a very small group of people, and they are the ones that attacked the US.

We attacked Iraq. They did not have weapons of mass destruction, and they were not trying to acquire them. They were not funding Al Qaeda. We attacked an innocent nation.

Who is the real threat in this world right now? Should the Muslim world be more afraid of us, or us of them?

Patricia

Look at a meeting as a great opportunity to set me straight on who you really are and how really right you are.

I bet that Corbin will come. Won't you, Corbin?

When and where would you like to meet, JT?

Just Thinking

Patricia, keep right on authoring my motives, what I would enjoy, and what motivates me. You don't need me there for your internal conversations. Apparently what I would enjoy the most is just setting you straight and telling you how right I am. Go with that theory, Patricia, and enjoy your meeting with Corbin.

PreacherDJ

Just Thinking,

Wow, you really believe all that you said, don't you?

I could take the time to refute all of your statements, but I think I'll get back to my point. Regardless of how many men bin Laden has in his merry band, the point is that the religion of Islam is not one that promotes peaceful co-existence with other religions, but rather seeks to kill all who won't otherwise convert. That there are some, even many, or perhaps most (for now) that take the name of Islam and yet are unwilling to kill "infidels" does not change the nature of what the religion is.

And to answer your questions: a significant portion of the "real threat in the world" right now are Muslim (and that is not to say that a significant portion of Muslim are threats right now; also, let's not forget others like North Korea); and I would say the fear factor is probably a draw, because we should definitely be afraid of the threat that comes from the Muslim world, and the Muslim world that wants to establish universal Islam by force should be afraid of us because we fight to protect our country and to bring freedom.

Just Thinking

PreacherDJ,

Where do you get that we fought the war in Iraq to protect our freedom?

I would say that the rest of the world needs to fear any nation that launches pre-emptive wars, based solely on false, paranoid suspicion. As soon as we become suspicious of another nation, do we attack them, too? Is that the way that rational nations should behave?

Just Thinking

The problem, PreacherDJ, is that you engage in this mind-reading exercise of yours, ignoring actual behavior, and come to the conclusion that Islam is out to get you. But we don't see massive attacks from Islamic nations against the US, do we? On the other hand, our nation most definitely attacked an innocent nation, based solely on our paranoid delusions. We behaved irrationally, and as long as people in this country keep thinking that way, then this nation is an irrational threat in this world, one that is truly armed with weapons of mass destruction.

So you can continue believing that you know to read minds, but keep this in your mind: we took that mind-reading approach to Iraq and we started a war against people that we should not have attacked. It turns out that our mind-reading skills were no good then, just as yours are no good.

We are forced to live in this world and deal with specific behaviors, instead of conjecturing what someone MIGHT want to do to us in the future. Paranoid delusion makes a lousy excuse for anything, but especially for war.

PreacherDJ

Just Thinking,

Slow down, you're reading too fast and missing words. That can lead you to false conclusions.

I did not say we fought the war in Iraq to protect our freedom. I said we fight to protect our country. And so we did in Iraq. Did Iraq have WMD? Well, we'll never know what ended up in the hands of other governments, but Saddam certainly wanted us to think he had WMD. And like a police officer when approaching a suspicious character who gives the appearance of having a deadly weapon, we took action because we know that this regime that has no problem gassing and wood-chipping its own people will not hesitate to use WMD on us. Even those in Congress who are now condemning the war knew at the time what kind of threat Iraq could be.

We also fight to bring freedom, and the people of Iraq cheered the day the statue of Saddam fell. I hope they fully step up to the opportunity before them.

Perhaps this article will help: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56767.

PreacherDJ

Just Thinking,

Whose mind am I supposedly reading? I am making no claim to read anyone's mind. My initial point is not what anybody is thinking, it is what the doctrine of the religion of Islam is. My point is objective, not subjective.

PreacherDJ

Just Thinking,

Thank you for allowing me to "joust" with you. I hope that even though we obviously disagreed, that I wasn't offensive in the way I presented myself (I did get just a little snide once or twice). If you were seriously offended, I do apologize.

But now I'm tired, so my part of the joust is over.

God bless.

Just Thinking

We fought that war based on paranoid delusion. Pre-emptive war doctrine is nothing more than a war of suspicion. You can blame whoever you want, but it does not change the fact that we launched a war without cause, based on this new paranoid delusional theory of war called pre-emptive war doctrine. Do unto others as you think they MIGHT be planning to do unto you. That's an unreasonable doctrine for war, and I don't care who supported it. It's morally wrong and the result is that we attacked a nation that was not planning to do us harm, and didn't even have the capability to do so if it wanted to do us harm. Wrong is wrong, PreacherDJ. After-the-fact justification doesn't cut it either. This world doesn't accept wars against dictators just because they are dictators, and I doubt seriously you would have ever seen support in this country to launch such an attack just because Saddam was a dictator. People in this country don't appreciate sending off our citizens to die for paranoid delusional errors. We're responsible for far more Iraqi civilian deaths than we suffered on 9/11, and those Iraqis were just as innocent as our civilians.

Just Thinking

Our posts crossed. No, you're not offensive.

PreacherDJ

Just Thinking - I'm glad I'm not offensive. We may get to do this again sometime on a different subject.

An interesting article that goes back to my original point, by comparing Muslims to evangelical Christians: http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=56671.

Patricia

I read the WorldNet Daily EDITORIAL. NOT article, PreacherDJ. This is an opinion piece.

The editorial is basically "proving" that Islam is an inherently violent religion by comparing the response of its adherents to the Pope's slur on Islam and the response of fundamental Christians to the Pope's slur on non-Catholic religions.

Because this fundamentalist nation is more prosperous, educated, and sophisticated, its reactions normally are, too. We haven't had a riot in the streets for about 30 years. It doesn't mean that, in the past, we haven't had plenty of riots in the streets, as well as lynchings and tar and featherings. For years, the Ku Klux Klan perpetrated its violence, and with the blessing of many Southern fundamentalist churches.

We have seen Christian organizations putting up websites depicting Muslims as uniformly evil. And creating video propaganda pieces that urge war and violence. And we have had Christian leaders, who have applied all the pressure they can muster to the President to urge him to invade a Muslim country - Iraq. Bombing and killing hundreds of thousands of Muslim citizens without even giving them the dignity of a body count is a lot more deadly than a street riot.

In short, we have had plenty of Christians, in the name of Christianity, foment violence through "legal", but not necessarily moral, means.

There's an old farm saying that is pretty appropriate. "If you think your shit don't stink, it's just because you're not wearin' it on the bottom of your shoe."

PreacherDJ

Per dictionary.com, an article is "a written composition in prose, usually nonfiction, on a specific topic, forming an independent part of a book or other publication, as a newspaper or magazine." This would qualify as an article. Nevertheless, I apologize for any confusion.

This editorial speaks to the fruits of the two religions. Certainly, not everyone who wears the name of the religion, whether it be Christianity or Islam, practices the teachings of that religion. As you've pointed out, there have been "Christian" people who have mistreated and even killed while bearing that name. And as I've pointed out, there have been Muslims who have not killed "infidels" while bearing the name of Islam. The point is that the tenets, the basic teachings, of these two religions (not their practitioners) are fundamentally starkly different. And to call Islam a peaceful religion is to be more delusional that Just Thinking is accusing me of.

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