Tuesday, October 23, 2007

We Reap What We Sow

Here's an email I received earlier today. I almost always check these out, especially if from a friend, then delete them. This one I passed on.

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

My confession:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees.

It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a creche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" (regarding Katrina). Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about. And we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW".

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you're not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein

Amen, Ben.


Shirley Vandever said...

I always knew I liked Ben Stein. A great piece, especially if you stop to think about it instead of just reading it and passing it on.

AmericanCrystalBall said...

olerance: Ben sure hit on some good points with this one. I like the fact that he says he doesn't mind Christian symbols and presumably he doesn't mind other religions symbols (or lack thereof) as well. Tolerance and acceptance of others makes a lot of sense to me - as long as goes both ways. Just like Ben doesn't like being "pushed around for being a Jew" I'm sure others (even atheists don't like being pushed around for what they believe (or don't).

A faulty premise: What I don't get is this statement: "I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat. " Where the heck does that come from? America was founded by Christians seeking the freedom to practice the religion they wanted. Religion freedom is written into the Bill of Rights and based the ever growing number churches I'd say religion is flourishing in America. In the 2001 census, Eighty percent of the population (80%!!!) describes themselves as Christian (compare this to Jews with 1.4% and 'non-religious; with 15%) so it hardly seems to me that the Christians are being pushed around - they are obviously in the vast majority and in control.

The problem with diversity: But what we have seen as the country has grown is that, in the public space, we have had to wrestle with how to handle this diversity. If you are going to teach the bible in the schools, which version are you going to use? Are the Catholics going to get pissed if we use a Lutheran bible? Can we create a bible with no affiliation? Won't everyone get pissed off in that case? There are appropriately 34,000 separate Christian groups in the world today, if the public sector evens seems to endorse one of those, then assuredly one of the others is going to cry "no fair". And what about the smaller religions? Shouldn't Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, Druids and even atheists get their fair turn to teach about their religions? So the public sector has taken a safe but boring approach and said, we need to get out of the religious business altogether and let the houses of worship take up that load. The ironic thing is that by trying to get out of the spotlight and avoid the issue, they get attacked for being anti-Christian. Notice that the Muslims don't get all riled up that we don't pray towards Mecca every day in the schools. They do that in their mosques. And if they want their kids to attend a religious based school, they send them to one.

The downside of freedom: Unfortunately, the most intolerant in our society are often the most vocal. Take for example the Christian church who protests the funerals of our fallen soldiers. Talk about an obnoxious, offensive, and disgusting example of free speech and freedom of religion. Again the irony strikes me: these soldiers died defending the very rights of free speech and religion that these zealots are using to desecrate their funeral. I see that and I think "Why are Christians pushing me around telling me to think? Why would anyone want to be associated with a religion that teaches hate, disrespect, and intolerance?" In my head, I know that these people are truly a small majority of all the Christian in America but nevertheless it leaves a very bad impression in my heart. If you look at what Anne Graham said below I can think of another similar but completely different response: 'I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are. But for years we've been teaching our children all about hate and selfishness in the name of God. We have abandoned his moral teachings of love, tolerance, and charity and it has been the churches leading the way. God is fed up and has gone off to play golf.'

Personally, I believe we should be teaching about religions in schools. If everyone learned more about the other religions in the world and the history behind them, we might be a lot more tolerant and, as I said in the beginning, I am a huge proponent of tolerance. If we opened up the minds of our children to the variety the world has to offer maybe they would be less likely to "worship Nick and Jessica", less likely to follow the intolerant teachings of churches such as Westboro Baptist, and less likely to try and cram their particular beliefs down my throat. Perhaps they would be more likely to understand that not everyone believes what they do and that it is OK to have that difference. Perhaps then we would see that most religions have at their core, moral teaching that should permeate our society and we would rise up above the trappings of any individual faith to attain the "greater good"

But unfortunately, that is not how most religions work. Just about every religion condemns the followers of every other religion to eternal damnation. They believe it is their mission to convert these poor souls and go out actively trying to do so. The "other religions" are full of false teachings and they need to be conquered. The atheists just don't want to hear about any of it and get pissed off when someone offers to "save their soul". The Christians see this as an attack on their religion and the whole thing goes back around in a cycle that until we find tolerance, we will not be able to break. I guess we do reap what we sow.

Sam said...

A very detailed and lengthy thought provoking comment from Dave Hanna. This comment is posted on his blog, AmericanCrystalBall.