Nature's dependable laws: 9-18-2008
Living with death: 9-20/21-2008

A new interfaith effort: 9-19-2008

As I've said before, the Kansas City area historically has done better than most cities when it comes to interfaith relations. No one region of the country, obviously, is doing enough, but over the last 20 or 30 years, lots of different efforts in KC have produced good results in this important area.

Alan Cohen

And now there's a new effort. The Jewish Community Relations Bureau/American Jewish Committee recently announced the appointment of Rabbi Alan L. Cohen (pictured here) as director of Interreligious Affairs for the Bureau's new Enhanced Interfaith Project.

When I spoke with Alan about all this the other day, he clearly was anxious to get moving on one of his first projects, which is the creation of an interfaith clergy council.

The council, he said, "will help the clergy come together and focus on issues and concerns and needs that are part of our common heritage."

In some ways, interfaith dialogue in this area (and no doubt nationally) has been stunted because it often has failed (for many reasons) to include representatives of faith traditions that would describe themselves as fundamentalist or conservative.

In some cases, those representatives don't see any value in such connections unless it provides them an opportunity to try to convert people to their faith. And that's certainly not the purpose of interfaith dialogue, though sometimes conversion can happen as a result. But it's also true that sometimes people of faith who would describe themselves as moderates or liberals haven't reached out to people on the other end of the theological spectrum because they either don't know them or don't trust them.

Alan told me that in his years as a pulpit rabbi (he was for many years senior rabbi at Congregation Beth Shalom) he got to know people of many different religious traditions, including evangelicals and fundamentalists, and hopes to be able to draw them into the work of the council.

One of the goals of the council will be to provide educational opportunities for people in many congregations of different faiths and to find ways that clergy from various religions can speak in harmony (not necessarily unanimity) on issues that affect all of their congregants.

I've known Alan for some years and believe he's well suited to this new task. But it won't be easy, so I hope clergy from many faith traditions will at minimum give him a hearing.

* * *

WHAT DO AMERICANS BELIEVE?

The latest Baylor Religion Survey came out Thursday. For details, click here. I'll deal with it in more depth later, after a weekend devoted to a wedding in our family. But I wanted you to have some access to it now. For a newspaper story about the survey, click here.

To read my latest Kansas City Star work, click here. (My column tomorrow will be about religious conversion -- and some people paying scholarly attention to the phenomenon.)

Comments

adam harrison

The interfaith meetings are a great opportunity, but I have long wondered if atheism should be included.

After all, in the KC Star on the Saturday religion page there is a weekly message from a local individual on what their faith means to them.

Until recently, an atheist commentary appeared about once every few weeks, although I have not seen it lately.

Now, atheism most certainly does involve a great deal of faith but I wonder if they generally admit that?

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Patricia,

I don't believe there is anything in the Bible about beating your wife. I consider this as an advance. I may stand corrected if you can show some quotes, but I have poured through electronic version of the Bible and have not found any.

However, there are many references to "beating slaves & fools". Check out http://kcfreethinkers.org/jesusmyth.htm for specific quotes on treatment of slaves and beating the hell out of them, also raping slave women, killing women who knew men when god commands them killed and only virgins taken.

I guess they had a full time gynecologist on staff to check vagina's of every woman after a city fell, must have been quite a task from god (as Sarah Palin said about war in Iraq).

If you consider your wife a fool, then the Bible gives you godly authority to beat the hell out of her. You see how it works all nicely and then "verily I tell onto you, these things will happen" - you just need to pick the right verse from the Bible and apply it.

You can also chose to ignore others. So, when are you Christian men going to start beating your wives who are fools. Oh, I am sorry, I forgot - it happened and happens many time, but we call it "spousal abuse" now in "secular terms"- even if the wife is a "fool" the law (mind you secular law) will stand up for her. Religious law which Jesus said HAS NOT AND WILL NOT BE CHANGED, NOT A LETTER OF IT, says that if the wife is a fool she must be beaten.


Also, there are many references to women being in submission, not speaking in church, being inferior to man.

Since Jesus CLEARLY STATED HE HAS COME NOT TO ABOLISH OLD TESTAMENT BUT TO FULFILL/ENFORCE IT, when are you Christians going to start fulfilling the 613 commandments in the Bubble.

Boy, the world is going to be such an interesting place then. I can assure you, if Christians begin following Jesus' words and Yahweh's WITHOUT CHOOSING AND PICKING.

Hail Jesus! It's going to be a wonderful life!

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Preacher,


Here are many (I mean MANY) quotes from the Bible that CLEARLY DEMONSTRATE GOD tells you how to own slaves and how to get them through pillage and wars - http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/godlovesslavery.htm

Not very pretty. But, hey, it was the law of the land then, so it was all kosher then and it is kosher now because the law of god is the just law, always has been, always will be.

Slaves had to be happy they are being made slaves because of gods commandments. What can be better than being a slave in glory of god even if they don't know that god and belong to another tribe? Those stupid slaves, they deserve to be slaves because they did not know god and especially if they are virgins, it pleases god to get them to his chosen people. 

Abortion and gay marriage is the law of the land now and also in some states, so why would Christians object? It is all kosher, it's the law according to their logic since slavery was OK and sanctioned by law, though religious law. 

Oh, I forgot it has to be RELIGIOUS law for it to be kosher for some Bible Thumpers, then it is all kosher.

As long as it is not secular laws that grant equal rights to people of all faiths and NOT TELL YOU TO KILL people of other beliefs, if you marry to a foreigner and if your children speak a different language or if you acccept another god. Yes, Yahweh, Jesus' father says so - it must be really true. When it is religious law based on the only true god's law (to detriment of others who don't share the faith - either other faith or non faith) it's all kosher. 

Reminds me of theocracy that some Bible Thumpers promote, sound like the whole enchilada they'd like to gorge on.

Dolores Lear

What does the word 'interfaith' effort mean? How many times when Humans had interfaith meetings, has it resulted in a conversion of Unity into One Group? It usually causes another Religious split.

When Humans are 'brainwashed' as a Child, in the Way they should go and not depart from it, How do Religious Humans make Interfaith Unity on our Killing Planet Lifestyle, into one Peace God Lifestyle?

What kind of Educational opportunities, can we do today on a Planetary Basis, that the Internet has not done? Where does Religion or the www. teach the Living Lifestyle of, 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'? www. can explain how to build an Atom Bomb.

The merger of a Nation is usually by War, when one nation takes over the land area of another nation, but that does not make the Citizens have Religious Unity.

The European Nations, changed from Catholic to Protestant, but did not Unite the Citizens into One Faith Unity. There is No Faith Unity on any Continent.

We see the three religious divisions of Humans in Iraq. Will they ever join together in a Muslim Unity Government, or split into three new nations?

Why should any Country be a Religious Nation? Will the USA stay a Christian nation? Will interfaith divisions need adjustments, as the Muslim population increases? The Jewish population is not a problem.

Heterosexual Body Birth divided the Original Perfect Humans on Earth, and Divisions will not End, until the Human Nuclear War ends our Divided Killing Lifestyle, for God and Country.

Following Earth's Religious Gods is not a GOD of Love, but Hate. All Humans should Unite as Atheists, In Love of GOD/LIFE, the Maker of LIFE. Humans should be Equal Brothers/Sisters of LIFE, and stop Killing GODs Planet and Each Other, for a Religious God and Country.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

There's No Arguing With Conservatives ... No, Seriously, Scientific Studies Prove It

A new study out of Yale University confirms what argumentative liberals have long-known: Offering reality-based rebuttals to conservative lies only makes conservatives cling to those lies even harder.

http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/arguingwithconservatives.htm

Just Thinking

It's interesting how you cannot seem to deal with context, KCFreeThinker. That is the sign of someone who mines quotes, as you do. You're not seeking truth, but seeking out others who criticize and glomming onto their ill-considered arguments.

Unlike with Islam, Nobody forces you to be Jewish or Christian; but if you sign up, then be very much aware that you have signed up for scrutiny. You volunteer, and there is responsibility. Adultery is a very serious offense. People who cause an unwanted pregnancy will know that they've done something very seriously wrong. I can assure you that such blatant irresponsibility will not be encouraged within these communities.

ALL sin leads to and warrants death according to God. That has been clear from the beginning, when Adam and Eve strayed. Sin has consequences that reach far beyond the single act. You can look around and see the consequences of the first time someone wrongfully entered another person's home. There's a lock on every door now. The damage cannot be reversed. But you deny that God's is righteous in demanding punishment for such corruption; your hope is in this world. God's hope is not in patching this world of perfection corrupted.

Next, understand that Christians are to deal with people inside and outside the Church differently, just as Jews have always done. It is the responsibility of those in the religion to police within, but not to police outside. However, Christians are to stand up for victims who need help or who have no voice: widows, orphans, the sick, prisoners, unborn children.

1 Corinthians 5
What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside? God will judge those outside. "Expel the wicked man from among you."

Just Thinking

Again, KCFreeThinker, you sit in judgment. You have decided that your form of justice is so high that God must have that same form of justice, or He is not God. Now you have decided that slaves must be freed according to YOUR standard, or God is not God.

This world is lost, KCFreeThinker. Jesus came to set all the slaves free, but that has little to do with fixing the current, corrupt world system.

John 8
Jesus replied, "I tell you the truth, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed."

You misunderstand because you stay focused on this world; you reject the eternal and you reject God. So you misunderstand the meaning.

You had the same misconception before when you spoke about how the generation of Jesus' time would not perish until they saw Jesus coming in His Kingdom. That already happened, KCFreeThinker. Peter was given the keys to the keys to the Kingdom by Jesus, and Peter unlocked it on he day of Pentecost, after Jesus had appeared. The Kingdom came that day through forgiveness of sin and by the Holy Spirit. The Kingdom of God came that day through salvation. It marked a new age, a New Covenant. A new opportunity for eternal life.

Ephesians 1
And you also were included IN CHRIST when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked IN HIM with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory.

Just Thinking

So, let me do a little summarizing for you, KCFreeThinker, because I know it's a lot to digest. It's not just sound bytes, but an overall picture that must be grasped.

This mission of Jesus is not to save this world, to correct this world system, to rule over this world, or even to oppose it. Jesus came to gather those who love God into fellowship with Him and to usher them into a new world eventually. Keep your eye on the ball here, on the eternal.

Christians are not told to police this world and enforce morality, but they are to police their own, to make sure that those gathered into the Body of Christ do not stray. Some Christians get this wrong, but the Bible is clear. Some Christians believe that they must force morality onto others and that those in the body of Christ get a free pass. That is not how God intended. Not at all, but just the opposite.

However, Christian or not, if your behavior impacts and victimizes others, then Christians are to defend the victims.

When you sign up as Christian, you are agreeing to work toward making Jesus the Lord of your life. And that requires help from a community as well. It requires to service to all people, not just to your community. And it may well mean harsh chastisement at times. The goal is to keep people from straying. But they can always choose to leave if they no longer wish to follow God. That's a choice, just as it is a choice to follow God.

It is your choice to decide to follow God. It is your choice to believe that, though this world cannot be salvaged, your soul can be salvaged in Christ.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Just Thinking,

The biggest sin, for which the punishment is torture and death, seems to be not believing in god.... or not believing enough.

Christians are dime a dozen, but they seem to all say their version of fortune telling is the only true one.

Moslems are dime a dozen, but they seem to all say their version of fortune telling is the only true one.

Hindus are dime a dozen, but they seem to all say their version of fortune telling is the only true one.

Welcome to the world of reality and not delusion.

You actually do have a choice OF NOT FOLLOWING ANY GOD. You just chosen to follow your space daddy because you were taught so or grew up in the society that taught you so or came to it through some "conversion".

When you accept reality of how your beliefs are formed, you'll understand that you need to step outside your bubble of delusion.

And the truth shall set you free.

By the way, there is a new entry page to our site http://KCFreeThinkers.org - some new face lifts will be implemented soon.

Remarkably, the billboard and site generated over 600 click on it and so far only two nasty voicemails from a Christian lady who was screaming on the phone and telling us we'll all go to hell and she'll go up in Rapture.

Hail Jesus and followers of his who plan to go up in Rapture. I wish I can get their cars and homes when this happens. I think I'll start a business like this.

Dolores Lear

J.T.

Your statement "People who cause an unwanted pregnancy will know that they've done something very seriously wrong."

It is not People that cause unwated pregnancy, it is the Heterosexual 'Male'.

This is a Truth that is Needed, to Control the Heterosexual Male, in the Population Explosion. What other Human can make a Female Pregnant?

If a Homosexual Male makes a Female pregnant, it is a Heterosexual Sex Act, not a Homosexual Sex Act.

One Child for Each Couple does not work in China. It will not Work anywhere on our Home Planet. Hetersexual Body Birth still makes Killer Humans.

What is Planet Earth going to do, with 7 Billion Unwanted Humans, that Kill Each Other and their Eco System?

Will the Collapse of our Earth's Eco System by Mother Nature and GOD, stop this Human Virus?

Or, will a Human Planetary Nuclear Bomb 'Arm'ageddon do it? And a Human Planetary Judgement Day Fire, from our Pollution and Nuclear Waste, destroy all Life as we Know it?

Either Way, our Earth Home is on its last 'legs', in Facing Death.

Just Thinking

KCFreeThinker,

It's not about what words you say, a poem or a prayer or a ritual. Many Christians are imposters.

It must start with a heart to follow what is good, what is right, and what is just. I see in you that desire to follow what is good. That is why you are so critical. It's written in everyone's heart, but some choose to sear their consciences as with a branding iron and go another way. Some are self-righteous, never wrong, proud, and make excuses. Others are heart-broken, not just for the world at large, but especially for themselves.

"Consciousness" and "conscience" are very closely related. True consciousness is awakened in conscience, which often begins with scrutiny of others, but is useless unless it becomes scrutiny of ourselves. Someone is not fully human, not fully aware, until they are self-aware through conscience. The natural response is sorrow and repentance.

God promises that those who seek will find the door to enter. And those who find the door and knock will be allowed to enter. It's about the seeking heart who recognizes what is good and right and just and who wants to follow. The journey starts there: with seeking and admitting the truth about who we are and about who God is.

The truth sets us free. The truth is that we can be forgiven by God, but only if we confess our sins and seek forgiveness. The truth is that there is no other way. It is not possible to undo our damage to this world, to others, to ourselves, or to God, but we can be sorry and try to fix it. There can still be peace between us and God through forgiveness, new life, and a renewed spirit offering strength to change.

adam harrison

JT, do you still think "freethinkers" posts are thoughtful and insightful?

adam harrison

You have to keep in mind Iggy's background. He was raised in the Soviet Union under an officially atheistic educational system, which he has bragged about.

He was taught to hate religion and work to destroy it by all available means. He is also quite anti American, and disdains the idea of being a citizen, even though he has been here since 1993 or so.

He does not understand the United States, and seems to think that the methods of propaganda which were tried in the Soviet Union for 70 years, and FAILED, will work somehow here in the US OF A.

He should be avoided, as he will try to track you and photography you and send the picutures to other websites.

IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org

Just Thinking,

It looks like we are talking in two different languages or from two different planets.

Are you in KC? Let's get together and chat it all out. It looks like you and I are talking past each other. E-mailing back and forth takes time and efforts and we can get it over with in about 15 min in person.

We have some great meetups coming up tonight at 7 p.m. in North Kansas City and also other groups this weekend and next week.

Let me know. You can check the calendar at http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/kcgroups.htm

Otherwise you and I will be spinning our wheels and you will have water flowing out of your belly as your god said true believers will and you will be thinking with your heart and your kidneys and not your brain.

We have to dispel delusions about each other and I think you are ripe for it.

Just Thinking

KCFreeThinker,

I believe I have communicated clearly with you in this venue.

You put forth a few things about Christianity that you thought were contradictory, and I have explained them to you. The Christian system is consistent. I have explained that the cause of your confusion is that you reject some basic premises of Christianity: an eternal God and eternal justice. Then, of course, by denying such basic premises, you deduce in a circular fashion that there is no God or justice. Your circular reasoning takes you from where you deny that an eternal God can exist to the conclusion that an eternal God cannot exist. Entirely circular reasoning that is easily debunked.

You put forth several judgments against God that you thought would prove that He could not exist. Again, I showed you that your assumptions contradict basic tenets of Christianity and it is those assumptions that create the contradiction. You assume that any God must exact justice in THIS world according to YOUR standards, or He cannot exist. So, another misconception debunked.

I have explained how Christians view eternity so that you have a frame of reference and will not fall into similar circular reasoning in the future. If you want to check the consistency of Christianity, then you cannot do it by bringing the UNPROVED assumptions of YOUR system to Christianity and then show that YOUR unproved assumptions combined with Christianity lead to contradictions. That's not a valid way to examine the consistency of Christianity.

So, I believe I have effectively and thoughfully accomplished my agenda in addressing several issues that you have raised. If your agenda can no longer be accomplished by publicly submitting your ideas to scrutiny, then I am no longer interested in that agenda, FreeThinker.
We each have our own agendas.

adam harrison

JT, this guy is settting you up for ridicule at his meeting.

He will take pictures of you, pretending friendship, and send them to other sites.

I have proof Iggy.

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