Interfaith youth training: 1-23-09
January 23, 2009
Inspired by Eboo Patel's book Acts of Faith, some folks in my church have been working with others on creating opportunities for youth to participate in the kind of interfaith work done by Patel's Interfaith Youth Core.
I attended a meeting earlier this week at which people representing various faith traditions -- Christianity (both Protestant and Catholic), Islam, Judaism, Universalist-Unitarian and "none" -- came together to talk about how to move forward on that goal.
Jon Willis, a member of my congregation, has been the driving force behind all of this and he hopes to be able to bring Patel here as a speaker, perhaps in May. Patel, a Muslim, is founder and executive director of the Interfaith Youth Core, based in Chicago.
At the moment, two events are on the agenda:
* A Feb. 8 service project for 9th to 12th graders at Grace United Church, 8th and Benton in Kansas City.
* A Feb. 28 youth training workshop at my church, Second Presbyterian, 55th and Brookside in Kansas City.
For details about all of this, contact Jon at [email protected]. A bit more information is available on this page of my church's Web site. Just scroll down to find it.
At our gathering the other evening I was struck by comments from a 16-year-old member of our congregation who said she really wanted more opportunities just to talk with and to get to know young people of other faiths. In response, Shannon Clark, executive director of the Greater Kansas City Interfaith Council, said she has a religiously diverse group of a dozen young people active with the council. And it looks as if Shannon now will be connecting those youth to this effort.
Patel argues that it's vital for people of faith to influence young people in good and healthy ways before they turn to radicalism. It's also vital that young people get accurate and reliable information about their own religious tradition as well as those of others so they can know what they're talking about when faith enters the discussion, as it seems to increasingly these days.
* * *
THE ROLE OF FAITH IN OBAMALAND
In a time of rising religious diversity in the United States, it looks as if President Barack Obama is in tune with that and will approach matters of faith differently from the way former President George W. Bush did. For a pretty good analysis of all that, click here for a piece in the Christian Science Monitor.
* * *
P.S.: As you might expect the folks at the National Religious Campaign Against Torture are thrilled (as they should be) by President Obama's executive order banning the use of torture. For the NRCAT statement, click here.
Damn, Bill. You and I think alike. That’s what I guessed in the first sentence of your opening. The herd brings comfort. That’s the way it is. The philosophy of the herd does not mean that belief is so. It just means people find comfort in numbers.
If people knew there was only this life, I feel there would be far less suicides. That is only my thought, no facts. This is all we have. Taught this from birth, people just might get it: live as long as you can.
Yesterday certainly was very lively. My schedule didn’t allow me to join in. Amazing how suicide stirs up emotions. There are many reasons for such an awful escape from reality. Science is working on it and with our support, perhaps we can all make a difference in this behavioral imbalance.
Will. The reason people know what they know is trial and error. It’s how we started. Natural selection through evolutionary processes and then with cognitive reasoning we adapted better, with morals (without organized religion 1000s of yrs ago), into a civilization, than without morals. Very simple. Thus we survived.
TrueFreethinker, you are acting a bit nutty by twisting what others say to meet your agenda, which I feel is to drive a wedge between like thinkers. It won’t work.
Over and out.
Peace For the Sake of Goodness
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 07:18 AM
To follow up on the conversation on morality, I think Lynne summed it up in her 2:46 p.m. post yesterday when whe ADMITTED:
"Atheists's morality does not come from atheism per se"; exactly, it always comes from something else, "humanism", "dialectical materialism", "existentialism", etc. You can argue various moral positions, or be a moral relativist as KCFT is, but whatever you come up with, it doesn't come from atheism.
Atheism entalis no moral position whatsoever; be what you want...no immoral act is inconsistent with atheism if you are defining it as simply "lack of belief in God."
Posted by: adam harrison | January 23, 2009 at 07:32 AM
Not all atheists are going to be happy with Obama's position on torture, Bill.
The well known atheist Sam Harris, often quoted in atheist circles around town, defends it vigorously.
Posted by: adam harrison | January 23, 2009 at 07:36 AM
RE: OBAMA'S RELIGION
He did not put his hand on the Bible though he said "So help me god" in the retake of his oath the other day. I can just see conservative blogosphere exploding with conspiracy theories again he is a Muslim after they have exploded that he was not the president at noon because the words of the oath were mumbled by the Chief Justice.
RE: INTERFAITH EFFORTS IN KC
I have proposed to Community of Reason to become a member of the Interfaith Council and also Youth Core. We'll see where it's going to go
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 07:37 AM
Obama is clearly not an atheist. They can try to pretend like this is some kind of victory for their side all they want, but co-opting Obams's positions as there own won't work.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 23, 2009 at 09:26 AM
Wikipedia. "Until 1937, Inauguration Day was March 4. Since then, Inauguration Day has occurred on January 20 (the 1933 ratification of the Twentieth Amendment changed the start date of the term)."
The Twentieth Amendment (Amendment XX) to the United States Constitution establishes some of the details dealing with the beginning and ending of the terms of the elected federal officials. Additionally, the Amendment deals with scenarios in which there is no President-elect. The Twentieth Amendment was ratified on January 23, 1933.
Section 1. The terms of the President and Vice President shall end at noon on the 20th day of January, and the terms of Senators and Representatives at noon on the 3d day of January, of the years in which such terms would have ended if this article had not been ratified; and the terms of their successors shall then begin.
I imagine this experience with President Obama, will be clarified before another Election swearing in takes place.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 23, 2009 at 09:39 AM
I hope next time the Inaguration committe will tell the Chief Justice or whoever will be administering the oath to "stick with the program/Consitution" - i.e. read word for word from the Constitutional oath, not relying on the god given memory which is prone to fail, thus clearly showing human was not perfectly designed :o) and that the designer (god) has done a crummy job with the computer harddrive named brain :o)
Also, it may help to remind whoever will be administering the oath of office that "asking" the candidate "So Help You God?" is a "personal" insertion of personal opinion in a "secular matter" of a "secular state".
I cannot believe someone has not filed a suite against Chief Justice for violating the constitution on this. I think I'll e-mail American Atheists, Freedom from Religion Foundation, American Humanists and others and ask them if they'd like to bring a suit like this. There will be plenty of plaintiffs, so this will not be a problem. The issue will be to have an "injunction" against future insertion of religion during the next inauguration and also oaths by others on state and local level.
I don't think this has been approached from this angle yet, so it would be interesting to see if it will go anywhere.
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 10:04 AM
A lot of people know that you and Igor are the ones drving a wedge between the freethinkers Cole. You are no Freethinker. You are just another agenda pusher.
We have not forgotten how Igor called Professor W spineless and the other insults he has made. I guess he thinks it drums up support.
Posted by: TrueFreethinker | January 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM
Wonderful that the "none-of-the-aboves" were also included. Maybe I will think about attending such an interfaith event next time.
I am also thrilled to hear about the ban on torture and the closing of Gitmo. I am hoping for a closure of the School of Americas also.
Posted by: Lynne - www.kcfreethinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 10:17 AM
Iggy, I will sit back and watch with amusement as you sue the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court! LOL!
By the way, will you be providing the financial backing for that undertaking, or asking for more "donations"?
Posted by: Will Graham | January 23, 2009 at 10:33 AM
This week's Daily promise, 1/23/09: Obeying God brings great joy
How much to you trust your Heavenly Father?
"If you love me, obey my commandments. - Those who obey my commandments are the ones who love them. And because they love me, my Father will love them, and I will love them. - " Matthew 21:28-32 NLT"
"parents hope that their children will understand rules as expressions of love and concern; - Our obedience to Christ should likewise be an expression of our trust in his care for us."
"You have not really learned a commandment until you have obeyed it.… Nothing clarifies doctrine like doing. VANCE HAVNER"
Does anyone Go By, their Christian Religious Rules? Are the Ten Commandments and Jesus' Two Commandments, just for Mouth Worship in temples made by Human Hands, not for a Lifestyle on GODs Temple, Planet Earth?
Luke 3:11. KJV. "The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican."
The Pharisee was a Jew. Christians are different?
Is it Impossible for Humans Born in the Original Birth Sin, to Follow God's House Rules on Planet Earth?
Religious Humans say they Love the Father and Jesus, and Pray to them for Rewards, and then Live as the Greed and Killing World Rules? Why?
Does anyone Know or even Care, What the Original Sin was, that made Humans Born in Sin, and Live in a Satan Lifestyle of Killing Each Other, and their Home Planet?
Will a Youth Core Rules, teach our Children to be Good Americans, Good Religious Members, or follow the Example of Adults, and Live as Evil Caretakers of GODs Planet, like All Fallen Citizens, Religious or Atheists, on Planet Earth?
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM
Matthew 19:16,17. KJV "And, behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life? And he (Jesus) said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is God; but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments."
Did accepting the Christian Religion, Change Human Killers and Destroyers of Life on Earth, into Peacemakers and Equal Caretakers, that keep God's and Jesus' Commandments? Why?
Fallen Humans Today, Do have the Supernatural High Tech Science of the Gods, in our Male and Female Image, that Started Life on Earth. Humans Do fly up in the Air and Out into Space like the Lord God did.
We Do have the Saving High Tech Science, to Reproduce the High Tech Science Purebred Male and Female Adam and Eve Clone Helpmeets in the Lab.
Why the Objections? It is the Supernatural High Tech Godlike Creation Way, of Perfect Humans.
Heterosexual Body Birth Imperfect Humans, use their High Tech for Planetary Toxic Pollution and Nuclear Bombs, which is not Godlike but Satanlike.
Why would God want his Children, to Kill Each Other and Our Home Planet?
Eternal Physical Human High Tech Reproduced Life After Birth is Godlike. Heterosexual Reproduced Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth is Satanlike.
Until Humans accept this Truth, and that High Tech Humans can Reproduce Life on Planets, Have Eternal Physical Life After Birth, and Travel in Spaceships, they 'Will' Continuing Killing Each Other and their Home Space Planet.
Eternal Physical Life is for the Living Purebred Humans with High Tech Space Travel. They can Escape their Home Planet and go to Another One, when their Sun Dies.
Our Hope should be in Nothing Less than Eternal Perfect Human High Tech Peace Society.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | January 23, 2009 at 10:39 AM
I read the link you posted about Obama. One very interesting part:
"Obama's choice of the Rev. Rick Warren – a popular Evangelical who has campaigned against gay marriage – to deliver the inaugural invocation riled many liberals. Obama's subsequent invitation to V. Gene Robinson, the first openly gay Episcopal bishop, fired up the other end of the religious spectrum..."
"Obama's choice of two spiritual leaders with such distinct and controversial views signals that differences are not to be avoided but are an essential part of the conversation."
It's a good article. I feel like I understand Obama more than I did before I read it.
There's another good article on that site titled "Most US Christians define their own theology" at
Most interesting to me is "Forty-two percent of religious Americans also say atheists are able to find eternal life."
Of course, being a Secular Humanist I don't believe anyone has eternal life (only because I believe death is the end) but it's good to know that the number of people believing (or worse yet, hoping) I'll burn in Hell is pretty small. In fact, according to this article, half of American Christians do not even believe in Satan.
"Atheism as a challenge to organized religion has a worthy vocation to fulfill." --Retired Bishop John Shelby Spong
Posted by: Lynne - www.kcfreethinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 10:41 AM
It's not nice to spread false rumors about people. Nobody is driving a wedge among freethinkers, and interpersonal problems are never the result of just one person or one side. When you put all the blame on one or two people, that's called scapegoating and it's wrong. See: http://www.scapegoat.demon.co.uk/
Iggy has driven 1, sometimes 2 hours to start new meetup groups in places that previously had no group, and that are too far away to come to a KC group. Then he turns the group over to them and let's them run it. This has proven that he has an energy and dedication to freethought never before seen in the Kansas City area. Everybody has their faults, but I believe in focusing on the good in people.
I'm sure if you just got together and had a beer with him or something and tried to work things out you'd get along just fine. Can't we all just get along?
Posted by: Lynne - www.kcfreethinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 11:18 AM
Lynne, I am curious. What insults has Iggy thrown a freethinkers? Did he call some atheist professor spineless?
We KNOW he has called people names here, and has a smear of my friends and I posted on his site, containing blatant lies, but I am amused that he is doing it to atheists as well.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 23, 2009 at 11:49 AM
Lynne, here is an amusing response to Iggy's "techniques".
Its all in fun, of course!
Posted by: Will Graham | January 23, 2009 at 11:55 AM
Cole, your argument in the first post that we arrive at morality by trial and error and that is how we have survived...well, some people have, anyway...is an argument for PRAGMATISM.
What you have argues has NOTHING to do with ATHEISM.
So lets quit pretending that it does.
Posted by: Will Graham | January 23, 2009 at 11:59 AM
LORD'S PRAYER WEEKLY AT A CITY COUNCIL MEETING - ACTION NEEDED!
If anyone is interested to visit with city councilmen at the City of North Kansas City in person and or by e-mail (you don't have to use your real name) & talk to them about "Lord's Prayer" that is recited in unison every week at their city council meetings, please, e-mail [email protected] We have plans to go to their meeting one of these Mondays 7 p.m. and talk to them prior to the meeting about inappropriateness of the prayer and appearance or endorsing a particular religion/religious view over non religion and secular nature of the government. At first we plan to talk, then write by e-mail to them, then start passing fliers around the city council meeting every week and calling on attendees to support separation of church and state and if this doesn't work file a suit. Also, we'll be looking for members of the clergy and laymen of different religions (Christians, Jews, Muslim, Buddhist, etc).
Quick reminder about calendar events in KC This week - http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/calendar.htm
***TONIGHT***FRIDAY***NEW***KARAOKE***&***DRINKS***NIGHT!*** - Friday 8 p.m.
If you don't want to sing, you can just hang out and drink! They said they have a wide variety of music.
More info on the Red Balloon here: http://www.pitch.com/events/karaoke-31849/
PLEASER**RSVP***EVEN WITH MAYBE ***
(NW corner of Switzer & 75 St)
10325 W 75th Street
Overland Park, KS 66214
Mapquest map here: http://www.mapquest.com/maps?name=Red+Balloon&city=Shawnee+Mission&state=KS&address=10325+W+75th+St&zipcode=66214&country=US&latitude=38.992961&longitude=-94.706253&geocode=ADDRESS&id=8279304
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 12:09 PM
Quick reminder about calendar events in KC This week - http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/calendar.htm
****ZEITGEIST" THE MOVIE Saturday 7 p.m. - Black Dog Coffee House, Lenexa, KS. We'll watch the first part on Christianity - Part I, entitled "The Greatest Story Ever Told" questions religions as original god-given stories, arguing the Christian religion specifically is mainly derived from other religions, astronomical facts, astrological myths and traditions; in turn derived from or sharing elements with other ones. In furtherance of the Jesus myth hypothesis, this part argues that the historical Jesus is a literary and astrological hybrid, nurtured politically in the interest of control.
*********** SUNDAY - JAM PACKED WITH EVENTS -
***CHECK CALENDAR***http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/calendar.htm for details.
* Voice of Reason Radio show - the only freethinking radio show in Kansas City
* Science & Science Book Club - great chats
* Skeptical Religion Group - new religions are studied every week
* Community of Reason Weekly Lecture - first rate lectures, first rate questions & answers
* Freethinking Lunch - Planet Sub on the Plaza - this is always fun and chatty
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 12:10 PM
So you know, I have decided to change my name legally to "James Christensen".
According to my system of beliefs, names are to be shed regularly. I was born in Russia as Igor Dybal, here in America I am known as Iggy and very rarely Igor. Recently, I've been called Igster and Ig and also "I". So, it's time to shed the shell of the past and move on to other things.
I have decided to adopt another name and "James Christensen" sounds as good as any.
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 12:28 PM
Appreciated the article from the Christian Science Monitor
I've long been for NOT demonizing those that disagree with me or whose faith is not the same as my own. That would be a big step forward. There is a lot of food for thought in the article. I will be watching how Obama's plans develop. And also good to know that there are folks from many faiths--and none -- who are working to give our youth sound growth in understanding of all sides.
Posted by: Mary Behr | January 23, 2009 at 01:02 PM
Lynne, see what I mean about Igor? He is just doing things to insult people and cause trouble. Its to generate publicity. It has nothing to do with freethinking. If he does start using this James name to do business and get donations, without a court ordered name change, he will be committing a crime. It should be interesting but remember he is always trying to pull some stunt of another to get attention. I expect nothing less from him, and the fact that you defend him puts you in the same league. I think I am done with your group. You are mainly old goats anyway.
Posted by: TrueFreethinker | January 23, 2009 at 03:51 PM
Getting attention is fun. It was fun when I was a kid and it is still fun! Some people like showing off. It’s in their nature. A true freethinking, gypsy of a sort.
How can freethinking be possible if people are disconnected from reality?
This. I think, is impossible. If people are allowing others, churches, astrology, spiritual crapola, tarot card fortune telling to rule their life then they are not themselves, but living some other persons concept of life.
People trying to get along with other religious beliefs are still staying in the same delusion pattern and excluding ‘this’, ‘now’, is the only life we have, reality, without fairy tale stories, which began with ‘social rules’ already in motion.
Shake off the restraints and live as you want.
But of course some of you are going to say: oh yeah, do whatever we want: steel, lie, murder, rape. You might think this because you are uneducated in free thought. Free thought can only exist if there is respect. And with respect we don’t take civil liberties from others who are not harming anyone, except maybe your imaginary king.
Give it up non freethinkers. You are loosing and will continue to loss until the world is at peace.
Ken, you should get a life and be a nice person and have some fun.
Peace For the Sake of Goodness Cole
Posted by: memberofKCFreeThinkers.org | January 23, 2009 at 07:25 PM
"Free thought can only exist if there is respect."
And, "Give it up non freethinkers." IRONIC how atheists, after telling us there is no God to tell us what to do, then turn around and...TELL US WHAT TO DO. LOL!
But if believers are losing, then what are you so obviously worried about?
Relax. Have some fun.
Posted by: adam harrison | January 23, 2009 at 09:01 PM
For all FreeThinking events in Kansas City check out http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/calendar.htm
Yesterday, we had Movie Night, Saturday January 24th - Black Dog Coffee House, Lenexa, KS
The movie was straight to the point making a case that Christianity originated from other religions, has so many similarities with other gods and had solid roots in astrology and sun worship. We questioned the long (almost 10 minutes) artistic introduction which was a waste with clips of war and such. Also, the final closing of the section on Christianity that "they" [religious leaders, those in power - assumably, politicians] know the truth of religious dogma and conceal it. We had a good time parsing this one out if most folks saying that "they" genuinely believe in it, if there is a conspiracy, or is it just like a mental disorder cannot get rid or by without it.
YES - We watched the movie, chatted, stopped it many times, asked questions, made comments, clarified, wondered, laughed and sometimes cried with laughter, and went online to talk about all these things! - can you believe this all happened in one night? You'd better! Here are the links to everything we talked about http://www.KCFreeThinkers.org/movienight.htm . We gathered shortly before 7 p.m. and had a nice chat over coffee and goodies for 15-20 min waiting on laggards and then we were off to the races! We broke up at about 10 p.m. - nobody bailed out earlier... Folks drove to Lenexa for this movie as far down as Archie, MO (South of Harrisonville)!
Posted by: Iggy - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | January 25, 2009 at 08:15 AM