I’m not “religious”. My parents both went to Catholic school and my father was very against forcing any religion on me. He viewed it as something I should find and believe for myself. I was baptized so that my grandparents wouldn’t worry about my eternal soul but that was it.
Now, it’s not to say I am not spiritual. I very much believe there is more to humans and life than the meat bodies we inhabit. But what is it? That I cannot tell you. Pretty sure you can’t tell me for sure either.
I’m a big believer in religious freedom. I figure you should be able to believe whatever you want as long as it is not causing harm to others (you want to harm yourself – that’s up to you.) And by this, I also mean you cannot suppress your people/believers (talking right at you Islamic countries and the way you treat women.)
I do also believe people need some form of religion. A sense of group belonging. People need to believe that there is something more than what they have. Always. Society also needs the group mores provided by religion. Man left on his own will devolve. It’s why society also needs the police and the army. Of course, organized religions that grow large also grow very powerful. This power can corrupt. Simple fact. Will you find bad apples? Of course you will. Statistically, the more people there are, the more bad ones there are too.
And zealots of any religious flavor are bad. Be able to accept other people’s beliefs. You don’t like mine? Well, I might not like yours either. But whatever.
I do not care what you believe (as long as not harmful) or what God you want to pray to. Or days you want to celebrate as holy or whatever. But do NOT mess with mine either. My cards say Merry Christmas. If I receive a card that says Happy Hanukkah, or Happy Kwanzaa or Happy Festivus – I don’t mind. Someone is sharing their well wishes with me. That’s nice. Why in the world do people get upset by this kind of stuff?? That’s stupid. Period.
I was emailed this Ben Stein write-up (from a Today Show appearance in 2008) and I agree with it. Not all of it is attributed to Ben Stein. But I believe what the rest of it is saying so I left it in. No mention of it on Snopes.com that I could find. And at the end of the day Google does not equal research (thank you Dan Brown and Dr. Langdon!) so even if/though no one famous said the bulk of this – I agree with the idea behind it :)
“The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
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.
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
(Note: the source for the remainder of this article is not Ben Stein, I have kept it here because it is still food for thought. There seems to be no such thing as absolute truth as regards news information so take it for what it is, the writings of a fellow human trapped in relative dualistic reality.)
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 a few years ago) 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.
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 yet?”