An Arkansas interfaith model: 11-4-09
November 04, 2009
There's a great interfaith story playing out in northwest Arkansas I want you to know about today. I know about it because a friend of mine is a member of the synagogue where it's happening.
Temple Shalom (temple of peace) in Fayetteville, Ark., will hold its first service in its new building this Hanukkah. It will be a dedication on Dec. 12 that will include leaders of many of the faiths followed by people in that college community. The service will launch the temple's "Faith to Faith Initiative," an effort to create more interfaith understanding.
How did all this come about for this 28-year-old Jewish congregation?
Well, several years ago the congregation was thinking about renovating a home into a synagogue. But Fadil Bayyari, a Palestinian Muslim offered to serve as general contractor to build a new temple -- and he would do it free of charge. Not only that, but his construction company offered to lay the building's foundation at cost.
That generosity -- plus the congregation's use of Episcopalians as architects for the new building -- inspired members to create the "Faith to Faith Initiative," which will include an interfaith library, lecture series and study groups.
If you surf around on the temple's Web site to which I've linked you above, you can read various stories about how all of this came together.
What a great model. No one gives up his faith. Instead, people act together in harmony out of their own faith traditions, and everyone learns.
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HAND OVER YOUR BIBLES AND NO ONE GETS HURT
No doubt many of you have been following the issue of whether Ebay would allow supporters of the man accused of murdering abortion provider Dr. George Tiller to auction off items to raise defense funds. Good for Ebay for saying no and for removing items when they got posted anyway. Who in the world would want to own a Bible just because it belonged to a woman who once shot and wounded Tiller? Still, maybe the wise thing to do would be to remove Bibles from such people if they can't read them for comprehension.
It's sad when people use the Bible as a means to an evil end, such as killing an abortion doctor.
It's just as sad when people read the Bible, come to believe that Jews are God's chosen people, and conclude that Christians must support Jews, no matter what. That's also a serious perversion and misreading of the Bible.
Our role is not to be God. It's the same sorry mistake people make when asking, "What would Jesus do?" instead of asking, "What would Jesus say about what I am doing?" One point of view dictates that we hold Jesus as Lord. The other view dictates that we become equal with God, which was never intended.
There is absolutely no way that America should support the settlements that the Israelis are using to displace Palestinians, especially during times of peace talks, and especially with our tax dollars. We should expect that much at least, and we should expect concessions from the Palestinians, too. Fair is fair. And that's the way we should be treating people--in fairness, without undue favortism. Even supporting 'friends' in their atrocities is not right.
People like Hagee have done a lot to damage Christianity. Hagee's perverse sense of justice is based in false understanding of the Bible, and in a desire to be God, instead of following God. Hagee claims that the country of Israel is promised to the Jews, and that America must be God in carrying this out. It's dangerous and absurd. One enters the promised land, the Kingdom of Israel, the Kingdom of God, by grace through faith, which is exactly how Abraham received the promise of God. Jesus Himself corrected misconceptions that the Messiah would establish an Earthly Kingdom, but apparently Hagee and others never got the memo.
Posted by: Just Thinking | November 04, 2009 at 02:31 AM
Can atheists participate in Inter Faith Work? Of course, and some local atheists like Chuck Lunney and Cole Morgan have agreed that atheism IS a faith, since they participate in the FAITH WALK column of the Kansas City Star.
But the New Atheists, like Dawkins, Dennet, Harris, and Hitchens would disagree. Militantly! LOL!
Here is another article by the Atheist Michael Ruse on how Atheism is facing its own SECTARIAN SPLIT.
And so far, I have indentified the Militant Atheists, the Fundamentalist Atheists, the Moderate Atheists, and the "Neville Chamberlain Denomination of Atheists, (and of course there many be as many variations as there are atheists)...
Posted by: Will Graham | November 04, 2009 at 05:56 AM
"HAND OVER YOUR BIBLES AND NO ONE GETS HURT -
How many Humans can read the Bible, for comprehension? What comprehension is the Bible read today with our High Tech Science? The same as Humans read it for 6000 years?
The Bible teaches a Living Style for Humans, Thou Shalt Not Kill. Humans down through time, copied and read the Writings, worshiped a Supernatural God, and Killed Life on Earth. Why?
Today with the Planet is Covered with Bibles. Religious Humans still Kill Each Other, and are still reading their Bible that says: 'Thou Shalt Not Kill'.
So would the wise thing to do, be to remove all Bibles on Earth, because Humans cannot 'read with comprehension'?
At least Body Birth Killer Humans were careful to copy Scripture and Myth, so that when the High Tech Knowledge Returned to Earth, the Supernatural God/Us in Genesis could be translated as High Tech Humans.
God/Us, Our High Tech 'Peace' Human Ancestor Species, 'Supernaturally' Colonized Earth, 'in the beginning', 13, 000 years ago, 6000 for Colonization plus 1 Day of 1000 years, to set up a Caretaker Society, and 6000 for History.
Since the late 1800s, Humans started teaching Life did not start 'Supernaturally' by God on Earth, but Evolved 'supernaturally' from Algae, that mysteriously reached a Null and Void Earth, from a Space full of Planets, Moons, and Stars.
Then Algae Evolved as the sea around dry land. the Sea Evolved into grass, bushes, trees, flowers, etc.
From the Green Elements, Fish and Fowl Evolved. From Fish and Fowl, the Animals Evolved, and from Animals, the Human Killer Species Evolved.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | November 04, 2009 at 07:49 AM
After millions of years of Evolving, in 100 years, Body Birth Humans Evolved from 1 Billion Natural Killer Humans, in 1900, into the 7 Billion High Tech Science Killer Humans today.
Also in the 1900s, a High Tech Science Revolution began, and Scientists Evolved and proposed making High Tech Spaceships, and Colonizing a Planet like Earth.
Killer Humans made Atom and Nuclear Bombs, and covered the Planet with Atomic and Nuclear Waste. Why do Humans have a Death Wish, and want to Kill their Home Planet?
The Religious God/Us in Genesis, Reproduced Male and Female Clones, 'in their Image', by High Tech Science.
These Perfect Peace Human Clones, began Reproducing Defective Killer Children by Body Birth.
Which 'Way' did Life on Earth Begin? Supernatural Creation, Supernatural Evolution, or Supernatural High Tech Colonization?
High Tech Clone Reproduction was recorded and handed down, as the Supernatural Creation of Adam, and Eve made from Adam's Rib. Today this is called High Tech Cloning.
Original Perfect Humans 'fell', and began Generation Birth, Death, and Rebirth, and Human Male and Female Mates Kill Each Other, their Children, All Species, their Eco System and Ozone Canopy.
God/Us, High Tech Equal Clone Helpmeet Humans, do have High Tech Purebred Eternal Physical Clone Life on Planets and in Spaceships; that is how they traveled to Earth, 'in the beginning'.
HAND OVER YOUR BIBLES AND NO ONE GETS HURT,
Still, maybe the wise thing to do would be to remove Bibles from such people if they can't read them for comprehension."
Posted by: Dolores Lear | November 04, 2009 at 07:50 AM
"One point of (Christian) view dictates that we hold Jesus as Lord. The other view dictates that we become equal with God, which was never intended."
Jesus was a Celibate Male like God/Us were Celibate Males with Females made from their Rib. This is the Only Way for Humans to become Equal to God/Us High Tech Humans in Genesis.
Writings of Jesus by Christian Jews, in 30 CE on, were misunderstood by Humans in 300, who Elevated Jesus to the Godhead of 'three persons'.
How can Christians since then, accept this type of Godhead? Does Supernatural mean Humans can not challenge these teachings?
Christianity is still the Majority Religion on Earth today. Being trained up as a Child, does keep Children from doubting what they are trained up to believe.
Except Children not raised in a Religion, or when they are older do question these teachings, and become Atheists, like Cole did at 12 or so.
At 49. I was led to this High Tech Science Information. I am No Atheist, but am Celibate . Until I am regenerated by High Tech like Jesus was, I cannot be Asexual like Jesus, who was Regenerated to Asexual, before going into Heaven, a Spaceship.
The Atheist Category does not fit me, as I accept GOD as not a Human, to be Worshiped as Pagan Gods in temples made by human hands. GODs Temple is Life.
Is 'GOD' a necessary Word Humans need for a label, in a High Tech Science Society. Man-Made Religions in Temples made by Human Hands, is a Waste of Human Energy.
Humans are too busy with Selling GODs Resources on Earth and Material Monetary 'Things' of Getting, instead of Sharing Resources Equally, to Keep their Home Planet Healthy and Livable.
Laws made by Religion, Males, Females, Government, etc., do not make Humans Good. Purebred High Tech Birth Genetics do.
With Balanced High Tech Science, Humans can Reproduce Purebred Equal Male and Female Clone Humans, like Elohim, the God/Us Group in Genesis. These Humans Clones Have Eternal Physical Life on Planets and in Spaceships.
Posted by: Dolores Lear | November 04, 2009 at 09:23 AM
Bill, what an exciting story about what's happening in Fayetteville, Arkansas! I really hope they can travel to the Middle East to show this model for friendship between Muslims and Jews.
Especially exciting is how it happened in a state that's often been stereotyped as racist and backward ... it reminds me of how Nathanael asked, "Can anything good come out of Nazareth?" before meeting Jesus.
Posted by: Susan | November 04, 2009 at 09:26 AM
Another serious perversion of Bible reading is that someone would take a Chapter out of Genesis and believe that it could be used to explain *everything* about creation. Come on, now! Common sense tells you not to trust people who think that way. Nothing could be more over-simplified than all of creation explained in a short Chapter.
The Bible wasn't written to explain everything that happens in this world. The Bible is a message for those who are seeking God, so that they will find Him. It's the tragic story of the consequences of sin in each person's life, followed by the miraculous story of restoration that comes only by God's grace of forgiveness.
What is more important? The story of how everything works, or the story of how to find God? You can have everything in this world, know everything in this world, and apply everything that you know, but it won't give you eternal life. This Universe is winding down as energy is converted to chaotic 'heat.' You can possess everything in this world, and still be empty. We see that proved everyday in the tabloids by people who thought that fame, popularity, money, sex, drugs, or unconstrained freedom would lead to happinenss. Sometimes the more you have, the greater the disaster that it takes to open your eyes.
What is missing from each person who sins is the relationship with their Creator. Childhood starts in innocence, before deliberately and defiantly turning to our own devices. The story of Jesus is the story of innocence restored to those who want forgiveness and who want to turn from evil that separated us from God.
God's story is not about acquiring information about everything in this world. I have no idea how someone would think that is the purpose of God's story. That's so far off the mark that it makes absolutely no sense. Such thinking is arrogant and silly.
Posted by: Just Thinking | November 04, 2009 at 11:44 AM
Evolution - Bats perform oral sex - check out video in this article.
Several intriguing thoughts...
Who knew that "original sin" will spread to other mammals!
Who knew that the "intelligent designer" will create animals who perform oral sex - chimps, bonobos and of course humans.
Who knew that the bat is called "bird" in the Bible and not "mammal"?
Who knew that oral sex in bats will prolong sex!
I wonder, why "bat oral sex theory" is not presented in the book of truth?
Intriguingly, the female lowered her head to lick the male penis during 14 of 20 copulations recorded on video. The licking typically went on for some 19 seconds, or roughly one-twelfth the average time of copulation. The male never withdrew from the female when she performed fellatio.
An explicit video of the act, produced by the researchers, is available at the link below.
The researchers found the longer the fellatio went on, the longer the bats often had sex, with each second of licking adding roughly six extra seconds of copulation. The bats spent almost twice as long copulating when oral sex was involved than when not.
"It was difficult to provide some hypotheses for the function of the fellatio behavior," Zhang said. "We held many meetings to discuss the functions."
Prolonging sex might increase the chances of getting pregnant by aiding transport of sperm and stimulating female glandular secretions, they suggested. It might even help prevent sexually transmitted diseases from the male to the female by killing germs with saliva, so while the male may enjoy the act, the female ultimately benefits.
FULL STORY AND VIDEO - http://snurl.com/t257f
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | November 04, 2009 at 01:20 PM
JUST THINKING, your spamming about Hagee, etc. does not change the fact that the Charter of HAMAS, the elected ruling party of the Palestinians, calls for the elimination of Israel.
There is even a national leader, who will soon have nuclear weapons because the current administration is doing nothing about it, who is threatening to wipe Israel off the map.
Nor does your spamming have anything to do with the fact that ARAFAT could have had a Palestinian state, but turned in down in favor of more terrorism.
There are over a million Arab Citizens of Israel; there is no Arab county where that many Jews could become citizens, even though the Arabs have virtually all the resources in the middle east.
Its looks like you are doing a little bit of using the Bible for your own ends, JUST THINKING.
Posted by: adam harrison | November 04, 2009 at 01:20 PM
"Nothing could be more over-simplified than all of creation explained in a short Chapter."
All that is explained in Genesis 1, is the Colonization/Creation of Life as we Know it on Planet Earth, by High Tech Humans, in our Human Image, from Space, on another High Tech Planet.
It does not explain Who or What made the Elements that made the Universes, nor Who made them.
With our High Tech Science today, we Know Humans cannot make the Elements they are made from, nor any other Physical Life that is made of 'GODs' Elements. 'GOD' being used for the Unknown Element that made LIFE.
Genesis explains how the High Tech Science Humans Reproduced the Female from the Male Rib. This was carried down through Centuries, by Humans without High Tech, so Supernatural was used.
Today Humans Know how to Colonize a Planet, by traveling in Space by High Tech, not Supernaturally. And Reproduce Fetus' in the Lab by High Tech, not Supernaturally.
"Jesus Himself corrected misconceptions that the Messiah would establish an Earthly Kingdom, but apparently Hagee and others never got the memo."
Jesus will not return to Earth with God/Us, our High Tech Ancestors, with whom he left Earth Alive, 'until' it is Time for the Judgment Day Fire.
Earth does Not have an Unlimited Supply of Resources, to use to Exist. Human have Misused and Wasted the Earth's Resources for an Unnecessary Population Explosion, Temples made by Human Hands, Pollution, Nuclear Bombs and Waste on land and sea.
Human God/Us and Jesus cannot Wave a Magic Wand and make Earth the Paradise it was 'in the beginning', before Humans 'fell' to Heterosexual Born Children.
And Bought, Sold, and Wasted these Resources, for Pagan Temples, not necessary for Eternal High Tech Physical Life After Birth.
"It's sad when people use the Bible as a means to an evil end,"
Posted by: Dolores Lear | November 04, 2009 at 02:09 PM
At 41-48 minutes into this video presentation Jerry Coyne (author of "Why Evolution is True") outlines hard core statistical analysis of social/societal disfunction among 34 and 17 leading countries in the world (murder, divorce, health care, crime, percentage of people in prisons, suicide rates, sexually transmitted diseases) connected directly to religion and acceptance of evolution.
The conclusions are pretty straightforward and simple - the less religious the people are the less disfunctional the society is.
Either the more religious societies create conditions that lead to "more disfunctional" surroundings and less religoius lead to "functional" socities or Devil is playing with stats.
VIDEO LINK http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w1m4mATYoig
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | November 04, 2009 at 03:13 PM
The building of the Temple of Peace in NW Arkansas is certainly a great model of interfaith co-operation. It's sad that this sort of thing can't happen in Middle Eastern countries.
Even Turkey, the most secular amd democratic of the islamic countries, who have been trying to join the European Common Market for years, still won't allow the Greek Orthodox church to re-open its Theological College in Istanbul even though the Orthodox have had a presence in that country from before the introduction of Islam.
Posted by: Red Biddy | November 04, 2009 at 03:30 PM
An interesting developement in Maine's gay marriage repeal - popular vote was 53/46% to defeat it in yesterday's elections.
Five states have legalized gay marriage — starting with Massachusetts in 2004, and followed by Vermont, New Hampshire, Connecticut and Iowa — but all did so through legislation or court rulings, not by popular vote.
Looks like "equal by separate" nightmare for you Americans is going to be played out again in the courts and legislation again just like with desegregation of schools and legalizing interracial marriages by courts and women's voting rights in the past.
One thing is very intriguing about this country - civil rights always win in the end. I don't doubt that Obama will repeal "Don't ask Don't Tell" when 75% of Americans today don't have a problem with gays in the military compared to about 25% or so 25-30 years ago - this should be a boost.
If Iowa of all places has legalized gay marriages!!!!!!!!!!! - IOWA, people! - then what frigging chance do other states have in the long run?
The plan of god for gay marriage approval is in the works and derailing it would be delusional!
Jesus should have made it easier on his followers if he said something positive about gays in the New Testament. This way there will be more space in heaven for atheists.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | November 04, 2009 at 05:09 PM
"Interfaith" cooperation in possible in "secular" countries for the simple reason that they are "secular" and I believe that "illusions of ultimate truths of each religion" are washed away and blurred by the secular society, consumerism, competition, need to cooperate with each other as needed.
"I am the way, the light and the truth" illusions of each faith are put on the back burner for the greater good for each individual and society as society "demands" conformity to "tolerance" which cannot be afforded in a "theocrasy".
This morning I while walking my dog in the doggie par, I listened to KCUR's Steve Kreskie show on "youth interfaith" efforts (Bill Tammeus called in with a question to one of the young panelists) and was suprised that there was no mention of "non religious" people at all. Especially considering, younger people are in larger numbers are non religious than any other demographics.
I did not listen to the last 5 min or so, so maybe they did talk about it, I'll finish listening it online.
Don't know what to make of it - either the "interfaith people" not considering them as "viable" prospects as non-belief/atheism/non affiliation/agnosticism is really not a faith but rather "apathy" or young non religous people just don't give a hoot.
Or perhaps, "rationalists" understand "ratioanlly" :o) that dealing with "faith" is just "irrational" and it's better be left to stew in its own broth of illusions? - this would make sense, truly because again and again I see how ridiculous religious beliefs are when they come to "real life" vs. "imaginary" world presented in theology.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | November 04, 2009 at 05:49 PM
I think that "interfaith dialogue" in general is the prerogative of "older folks" cramming in for the final exam (death). They have accomplished all they want, they may have already retired, have more time on their hands, think more about their final days (statistically older folks are more religious, but this can be just the "transitional fossil" forms of the yesteryear - when they die out, so will the higher % of religoius folks)
Rarely if ever you'd see any young people in the photos that Bill displayed of "interfaith dialogue" crowd and I have seen on other sites.
Even Conservative Christian polling company Barna.org is in agreement that younger peole 19-40 years old are 50% or so non religious and the latest polling by different organziations have shown a 100% increase from 5-8% 20 years ago to 10-21% of non religous people in America today.
Perhpas, the "interfaith" people can only "interbreed" interfaith within their own "theological" "genus" so to speak? And "natural selection" for BS will select them apart from "rationalists" in this "interfaith dialog?"
Don't know. Have not seen too many freethinking groups besides Americans United for Separation of Chruch and State and groups like KS Citizens for Science try to work inbetween religoius groups.
Posted by: IGGY - www.KCFreeThinkers.org | November 04, 2009 at 05:50 PM