Tom McLaughlin

A former history teacher, Tom is a columnist who lives in Lovell, Maine. His column is published in Maine and New Hampshire newspapers and on numerous web sites. Email: tommclaughlin@fairpoint.net

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

We're in Trouble


“Is it possible for a human being to become perfect?” I asked the class. Most students agreed it wasn’t. Some believed we could strive for perfection and that’s a good thing, but each of us would always fall short.

“How about creating a perfect society?” I asked.

“How can you create a perfect society with imperfect people?” said a particularly sharp girl with the perfect rhetorical question.

I was setting them up for lesson on utopian communes in America - efforts to establish perfect societies - and ultimately how the struggle between communism and capitalism dominated the 20th century.

We looked at 19th century communes like the Shakers and the Oneida Community. Both were religious, members of both gave all their property to the commune, both controlled all aspects of members’ lives, but they had opposite views of human sexuality. The Shakers eschewed sex but the Oneida commune spread it around as much as possible in a method they called “complex marriage.” Both thrived economically, supplying members with whatever goods and services they needed and both lasted longer than most attempted utopias. Neither achieved perfection, but they were around for a fairly long time working at it.

Though voluntary, 19th century American communes attracted fanatics who knew what was best for us all, and who were willing to impose it violently. It can’t be just coincidence that two presidential assassins were, at least temporarily, members of the Oneida Community. They were Charles Guiteau who killed President Garfield, and Leon Czolgosz, who killed President McKinley. Czolgosz especially seemed to personify the utopians’ metamorphosis from from religious to secular/socialist, then to athiest/communist as he embraced leftist anarchists and communists. People like him had no qualms about violently imposing their utopian fantasies on Russia beginning in 1918.

They transformed Russia into the USSR, then extended their influence over all of northern Asia and half of Europe. Promising to redistribute wealth, they appropriated private property whether owners were willing to part with it or not. They took control of the entire economy and every aspect of people’s lives, but seemed by all acounts to move further away from perfection rather than closer to it. The USSR couldn’t provide the consumer goods citizens needed. Its planned economy caused its demise.

Communist utopians tolerated no dissent. Somewhere between forty and sixty million people, most of whom were skeptical about communist dreams of establishing a workers’ paradise, were killed - far more than the number who died at the hands of Hitler’s Nazis.

Even without reproducing, the Shakers outlasted the USSR, which finally disintegrated twenty years ago. There are still a handful of Shakers in New Gloucester, Maine a few miles east of where I’m writing. As for the Oneidas - their utopian community is gone but they exist as a joint stock company making cutlery.

The religious American communes were entirely voluntary. People could join or not and if the life didn’t suit them, they could leave. The USSR was anything but. Communist officials built walls and an elaborate security apparatus to keep people from escaping. They had no choice beyond “adapt or die.” Communists believed they knew what was best for all whether they liked it or not. Religion was outlawed and the state became church. The revolution was sacred and capitalism evil. Individual liberty was not only irrelevant, it was “counterrevolutionary.” And, as Boris Pasternak’s novel character, Dr. Yuri Zhivago put it: “They shoot counterrevolutionaries.”

My earliest awareness of this was watching on TV as an ugly little bald guy with a wart on his face took his shoe off during a speech, banged it on the podium at the United Nations in New York City and declared: “We will bury you!” That was Soviet Premiere Nikita Kruschev. That Kruschev was dedicated to forcing Soviet communism on the entire world came through loud and clear to me that day and I’ve never forgotten it. Kruschev’s USSR collapsed thirty years later only because the United States sustained a forty-five-year-long Cold War.

We face a different enemy now. It’s another religious utopian group with strange ideas about sexuality, but different from its smaller predecessors in that it would violently impose itself on everyone in the world. It’s anything but voluntary. Radical Muslims are true believers with no doubts that they know what’s best for all of us whether we like it or not. They would make the world Muslim and run it under Sharia Law. They’re quite open about their intentions and have demonstrated that they’re willing to kill themselves if they can take a few infidels with them. Radical Shiite Muslims believe the Mahdi will emerge soon to preside over a thousand years of justice and peace. Iranian President Ahmadinejad invoked him from the same UN podium Kruschev used fifty years before.

Like the communists, Radical Muslims know the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving their utopian vision is the United States. Trouble is though, our Commander-in-chief lacks the will to oppose them. He won’t even call our enemy by its name. After US Army Major Hasan openly admired Muslim suicide bombers, declared the US an “oppressor” of Muslims, asked an al Qaeda recruiter what he could do “to further the Jihad,” shouted “Allahu Akbar!” while he gunned down forty-three US soldiers last week, President Obama said: “Well, look, we -- we have seen, in the past, rampages of this sort. And in a country of 300 million people, there are going to be acts of violence that are inexplicable.”

Inexplicable?

We’re in deep trouble.

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44 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I heard more than that in his speech, where he actually used the word Muslim and spoke of religious differences. And although they don't espouse the wholesale killing of people who disagree, there are sects of Christianity that certainly believe they have the answeer and are not shy about letting us know. Does your history include the Crusaders who did a little slaughtering of their own.
Tell the whole story Tom, not just what you want us to hear.

11/11/09, 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I really love people who justify a position by pointing to the errors of someone else. The crusaders have absolutely nothing to do with today's radical Muslim. Yes, Christians will happily tell you what they think is best, but you won't wind up with your throat slit for not picking up on the plan. Tom tells the story. You just don't want to hear it.

11/11/09, 12:40 PM  
Anonymous Jim said...

To the first Anonymous comment:

That was a complete inane and insipid post.

"Well I heard more than that in his speech, where he actually used the word Muslim and spoke of religious differences."

Ahhhh what? I'm not sure what this rambling means.

"there are sects of Christianity that certainly believe they have the answeer and are not shy about letting us know."

You do know that the Shakers (which Tom wrote about) are a sect of Christianity right?

"Does your history include the Crusaders who did a little slaughtering of their own."

Is this an attempt to draw some sort of moral equivalence between events that happened a 1000 years ago to present day Jihad?

"Tell the whole story Tom, not just what you want us to hear."

It seems like you're imagining what you want to hear just to write some nonsensical anonymous post.

11/11/09, 12:56 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

Some people just want their ears tickled. Obama is very good at tickling ears!

The Crusaders were not acting like Christians. They were not following their leader (Christ). The Muslims? Now that's another story. They are following their leader. All infidels, (that would be us) should be killed.

A Christian is to be known by his love, not by his hatred for others.

11/11/09, 1:10 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, good Christians would never engage in mass slaughter of non-Christians. Nosiree!

Oh, wait. Wasn't Nazi Germany one of the most Christian countries on earth?

Why, yes, it was:

http://www.nobeliefs.com/nazis.htm

I was really struck by Tom's comment that he was "setting them up" (his students) for his political endocrination. Nothing "communist" there, eh Tom?

11/11/09, 5:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oops. The word is, of course, indoctrination. (Endocrination is, I believe, defined as "love at first gland".)

11/11/09, 5:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wear my INFIDEL hat w/ pride. Beheading,cutting out tongues and cutting off hands along w/ stoning,burning and acid burning of their women is something I can not reconcile as a "religion of peace". Did you hear about the beheading of the estranged wife in upstate New York? Daughters in the name of honor killed by their fathers...no one here in America DARES to report these events just like a local movie house didn't dare advertise the showing of OBSESSION. Thank YOU Tom! When we lose a city we will wake up. Laurie from Bartlett

11/11/09, 6:42 PM  
Anonymous GBA said...

To the Anonymous poster who left this snide comment:

"Yeah, good Christians would never engage in mass slaughter of non-Christians. Nosiree!

Oh, wait. Wasn't Nazi Germany one of the most Christian countries on earth?"


You are COMPLETELY WRONG! Please read:

"How Hitler's Forces Planned To Destroy German Christianity"

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/01/13/weekinreview/word-for-word-case-against-nazis-hitler-s-forces-planned-destroy-german.html

or here:

"The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches"

http://www.lawandreligion.com/nurinst1.shtml

What I'm struck by, of course, is your shocking historical ignorance.

11/11/09, 7:45 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

"What I'm struck by, of course, is your shocking historical ignorance."

My sentiments exactly. His comment was so off the wall and history so bad I didn't even bother to comment...it would take years to set this one straight.

I suggest he sit in on Tom's classes. :)

11/11/09, 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Tom, for once I mostly agree with you. Yes, Communist Russia was bad, yes, radical Muslims are bad. Of course radical christians are also bad and have done incredibly cruel things throughout history. The most radical christians continue to do so, including their terrorist acts on abortion clinics.

So yes, radicals of any sort are usually bad.

Somehow you try and make some swipe at Obama to make him look bad. Too bad you feel obliged to do this, it makes you look petty. Not a bad article otherwise.

*Stephen Casper

11/12/09, 8:35 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regarding my "shocking historical ignorance" -- Did you even go to the web site I posted?

In case you didn't, let me tell you: It's ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHS SHOWING THE NAZIS' LINKS TO THE CATHOLIC AND PROTESTANT CHURCHES. INCLUDING GOERING BEING MARRIED IN A CATHEDRAL, PRIESTS GIVING THE NAZI SALUTE, AND MUCH MORE!!!

And let's not even mention the Holocaust.

"Shocking historical ignorance"? How about utter denial of history?

11/12/09, 9:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To those of you who took the time and effort to criticize the first posting, I offer you my thanks. The simple fact that you bothered to comment, justified everything I said.
We are allowed to express our opinions whether we agree on the various versions of history and the truth or not. And we are allowed to be rude and insulting in our responses. It is a shame that things have come to the point where we cannot be relatively polite in a discussion of this nature but that's the way things are and we must live with it. I have learned to deal with it.

11/12/09, 10:56 AM  
Anonymous Irregardless NH said...

Somehow, I don't recall Educator McLaughlin spewing similar hatred after Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols killed 168 and injured over 680 at the Alfred P. Murrah office building in Oklahoma City on April 19 1995.

What faith did McVeigh and Nichols follow? If they were Christians, should that, therefore, paint all Christians with the same, broad brush?

What did Educator McLaughlin tell his class in 1995 when these Americans killed their fellow citizens in cold blood?

11/12/09, 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Tiani said...

What is striking to me is that virtually no one seems to realize that radical Islam and Christianity have nearly the same belief system. Both discriminate against gays, despise women's rights (abortion), and both are obsessed with social control that pleases that invisible man in the sky. The only difference being of course that Christianity has gone through a reformation while Islam has not. It is ironic that both groups hate each other so much since it sounds like they should be on the same team.

11/12/09, 12:53 PM  
Anonymous Irregardless NH said...

AS USUAL, Anthony Tiani has it exactly right. Thanks for your posts to the Conway Daily Sun and for the excellent commentary on Educator McLaughlin's rant!

11/12/09, 2:23 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

Anthony

your comment lacks fundamental knowledge of the true Christian faith. No one did more to elevate women than Christ.

He first declared himself Messiah to a woman, a Samaritan woman to boot, not to men. At his resurrection he first showed himself not to the men but to the women.

When the men wanted to stone a woman caught in adultery what did he do? What about the immoral woman whom HE allowed to pour ointment over him while a religious Pharisee smirked knowing her background?

Also, a Christian IS NOT called to hate. Christ said.. "the world will know you are my disciples by the love you have for one another."

Please don't equate religious mucky mucks with Christ or Christianity because they most likely are NOT one in the same. Anyone can be religious but it takes a special kind of person to take up his cross and follow Christ. That's what true Christianity is.

True Christianity and Islam are worlds apart. There is no comparison.

11/12/09, 3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

to Dawn...Amen sister!! Laurie from Bartlett

11/12/09, 3:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is a list of some of the bibles "elevation" of women:

Genesis 3:16 Says that all women must suffer great pains during child birth due to Eve eating the fruit of knowledge. (As if it is somehow just that humans should pay for their ancestor’s sins nor is a woman dying in labor some how befitting of a crime she did not commit.) The verse finishes of by saying a husband shall “rule” over his woman, stripping us off all power in between the sexes.

Genesis 19:8 Tells of a man named Lot who offers his daughters to a crowd of would be angel rapers. Later, Lot impregnates his own daughters after God kills his wife for simply looking back at the remains of her city.



Exodus 21:7 God not only sanctions selling ones daughter into slavery, but he also gives out laws on how it should be done.


Leviticus 12:1-8 Explains that a woman has to be purified after giving birth because she is “unclean”. It goes on to say that birthing a male is cleaner then birthing a female, hence a mother must purify TWICE as long when having a daughter. This is BLATANT sexism from the point of birth. A woman is dirty simply for being a woman; this is obviously very biased and chauvinistic.

Leviticus 15:19-30 Explains that a woman having her menstruation must be avoided to the point of not even touching what she has touched. It is quite curious that women are punished for simply having a biological function that “God” claims to have created. What is so just about vilifying what you created?

Leviticus 18:19 Goes onto say that even LOOKING at a menstruating woman is wrong.

Leviticus 19:20 Says that if a man has sex with a slave or betrothed woman he must then “scourge” her. Scourging is a term for a severe flogging or whipping. I find it quite curious that the woman shall be punished to the point of a beating for such an occurrence, yet the man gets to go free for the deed.

Leviticus 21:9 Explains that unchaste daughters of priests must be burnt to death. What about his unchaste sons? Of course this isn’t even answered in the Torah, we are to assume yet again that men have the power to do as they wish and a woman must suffer the punishment for BOTH of them.

Leviticus 27:3-7 God places a dollar value on human life; with women worth less than men.

Numbers 1:2 Is the basis for the sexism that remains rampant today. In this verse Moses takes a poll of all the men who are able to fight in war, women aren’t even counted in the census. Apparently back then, just like today, us women are considered the weaker species and unable to battle. (Let’s not forget that during the time the Pentateuch was written women in Pagan cultures were FEARED and revered as the more powerful species. It is because of this patriarchal religion and it’s offshoots that we have been reduced to cowering sub-humans.)

Numbers 30:3-16 A woman can’t make a vow unless her husband allows it.

11/12/09, 3:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

...and a few more.

Amen.

Numbers 31: 14-18 Moses tells his men to kill all the males, non-virginal women, elderly and children of the Midianite tribe. Of course, the virgin women are kept for raping. If you read later down in the scripture God states that the Jews can not even marry a Midianite woman (with exception to Moses). Hence these women who were captured were repeatedly raped and impregnated and they weren’t even allowed a marital status in which to protect them.

Deuteronomy 20:13-15 Kill all the men and boys in the cities that God “delivers into your hands,” but keep the women for raping.

Deuteronomy 21:11-14 If you see a pretty woman among the captives then just take her home and “go in unto her.”

Deuteronomy 22:5 Women that wear men’s clothing are an “abomination unto the Lord.”

Deuteronomy 22:13-22 Women, be sure to keep the tokens of your virginity. Otherwise the men of your city may stone you to death. This does not apply to men though, of course. What is interesting to note here is the actual wording, it says : “that if a man hateth his wife he may say she did not have the tokens of her virginity”. Since there is no way a woman can truly prove she had a hymen upon marriage the word rests on the husband and she can be disposed of simply when he tires of her.

Deuteronomy 22:23-24 is one of the most cruel and sexist passages of the Torah. It says that women who are raped and fail to “cry out loud” in a populated area are most likely enjoying the attack should be killed.

Deuteronomy 22:28-29 A rapist must buy his victim from her father for 50 shekels. Is this supposed to be some type of retribution? What about the victim here, what if she doesn’t want to marry a pig who raped her? All that matters is her father receives payment for his “property”.

Deuteronomy 25:11-12 Says that we must cut off a woman’s hand if she touches the “secrets” of a man who is fighting with her husband…“And thine eye shall not pity her.” Once again, there is no punishment for the man she touched, only the woman.

11/12/09, 3:30 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

Again, you're misrepresenting scripture...

for instance what Lot did was wrong. It's written history of what he did. Many things went on in the OT (and NT for that matter) that was AGAINST what God ordered. Like Peter cutting off the soldiers ear in the gospel. What did Jesus do? Healed the man on the spot. Right? Solomon had 1,000 wives. That was wrong as well. David committed adultery. Wrong again. Just because it's recorded it doesn't mean it was ok. We can learn from the mistakes of others. That's why it's there.

You have to understand not only the times but also the fact that this book didn't take out the bad stuff that the people did in VIOLATION of God's commands. All the good, bad and ugly was recorded showing us actually that this must not have been written by man because certainly man would not have wanted their own kind to look quite so bad.

But on some of the other stuff you put in yes, God had commands mostly for health reasons but also other reasons. You can't just take scripture out of context and say "there!" Now, today I've heard doctors say that the laws we read back in Leviticus makes sense healthwise. For instance circumcision on the 8th day is absolutely the best time to circumcize a baby. We know that now but back then they had no idea..other than God said.

A text taken out of context is nothing but a pretext.

11/12/09, 3:39 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

Are you Jewish?

If not, why are you going to the OT? Why are you ignoring the NT?

It's very common when one loses an argument or wishes to hang onto to their opinions to run to another text to prove someone like me wrong. Why not answer what I wrote earlier about how Christ elevated women? Did he or didn't he? Was he showing the Jewish men of his day how women were to be treated?

When God created woman which body part of Adam's did he use? The foot to be his servant? Or did he use the rib to be his partner?

Don't look at man, look at what God commands. Don't confuse God's role for women with how man took the rules and distorted them for their benefit...what you are doing here is the same thing. You are distorting scripture for your own benefit.

11/12/09, 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Tiani said...

Thanks again to those who enjoy my writing. To Dawn and the other religious commentators; I spent my nearly my entire adolescents in Catholic schooling--which involved attending church multiple times a week and pouring over scripture for years, so yes I DO know what I am talking about. You are completely right about people taking scripture out of context or cherry picking certain verses to prove or disprove an argument. It is just too bad your righteousness blinds you to the fact that you are doing so yourself.
As far as the Old Testament versus the New Testament goes, one of the greatest flaws in Christianity is the idea that we are supposed to follow both testaments, but simultaneously ignore the first one. By that logic the Ten Commandments must be out then? Oops! I guess our perfect space overlord goofed and decided that being a jealous, angry jerk wasn't the route to go.

11/12/09, 4:53 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Tiani said...

Maybe social conservatives can form their own secs and communities where everyone lives by Christ or becomes banished. They can have control over who gets married and who doesn't, put God back into their governance and rule of law, not allow women the right to choose, and control the flow of media to weed out the undesirable filth. Why, it could a socialist conservative utop......err, never mind.

11/12/09, 5:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony: "so yes I DO know what I am talking about".

Sadly you don't. You know the letter of the law, but not the Spirit of it.

-tomax7

11/12/09, 7:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello again, Dawn.

I actually agree with some of your points this time. Though I am not religious (I do not support organized religion), I respect your immense faith. My cross-country coach has shown the team a certain movie for three years in a row: Without Limits. It is about Prefontaine. One of the quotes that has always stuck out to me is "Believing, really believing in something is the hardest thing to do in this world." (I have butchered the actual quote, but that's the gist.) Of course, Prefontaine goes on to say how he believes "in himself". I am more on that page. Still, your adherence to the scripture, the amount of time you have spent studying it, is deserving of respect.

HOWEVER, I feel the need to remind you (and all other posters, for that matter) that it is wrong to group all Muslims into one large, radical group. It is very easy to submit to the innate prejudices in our society, and to believe that all of Islam is "bad". Actually, Mr. McLaughlin does a nice job of connoting this.

To think this is shameful. At Fryeburg Academy, I have the amazing opportunity to learn about different cultures, countries, and religions. One of my close friends is from Afghanistan. She is a Muslim, and finds it difficult to speak of her religion to certain prejudiced Mainers. As she said, "No one ever wants to hear this: our Gods are the same. Allah just means 'God' in our language. I don't see why people can't understand this!" I replied with "It's the same as calling French Christianity a different religion because they call God 'Dieu'."

Obviously, Christianity and Islam are different religions. But I find it easier, from an outsider's perspective, to see the inherent similarities. Sorry, Tom and Dawn, but Islam isn't set up to be "evil". It's actually organized very similarly to your dear Christianity. I have also spoken to my friend about "Radicals" that are out to get us, apparently. I had wondered why she didn't always cover her head in public, and why I had never seen her pray to Mecca. She replied that "there are good extremes, and bad extremes... you know?" I thought I understood. A "good" extreme is someone who follows their religion, and believes from deep within their heart. Dawn, this includes you. A bad extremist is one who wishes to impose their beliefs upon others; at any cost. Luckily, Dawn, I haven't heard about you blowing up a building any time recently.

I agree Mr. McLaughlin, these 'bad" extremists warrant our attention. But we must never forget that Islam is not inherently bad. It is another system, another way for people to find meaning in their lives. And anyone who devotes time to finding meaning and love deserves respect; whether they be Christian, Muslim, or atheist.

Alex

P.S. I have also had the opportunity at the Academy to befriend students from certain Communist countries... Believe it or not, I have not had my throat cut yet!

11/12/09, 7:37 PM  
Blogger Ralph said...

To the Anonymous who excreted the sentence: "But we must never forget that Islam is not inherently bad."

You are mistaken. Islam is inherently "bad", because it declares religion and state to be ONE. The word of the Koran as directly dictated to Mo from Allah, the "exemplary life" of the pedophile prophet Mohamed and the law of Shariah are to rule the daily life and the political systems of all Mohamedans.

That principle is totally absent from Christianity and herein lies the FUNDAMENTAL DIFFERENCE between Christianity and islam!

The Koran and thus islam are not reformable, BECAUSE it is postulated to be the unalterable word of Allah.

Every muslim is bound by his totalitarian ideology, to spread his belief system by killing, enslaving or oppressing all Christians and Jews. His highest religious act is to die for Allah in an act of jihad.

Instead of spouting politically correct and culturally suicidal nonsense, you'd be much better off informing yourself AT THE SOURCE about that murderous ideology. When you read the koran - and I really suggest you do - and talk to an imam, keep in mind the koranic principle of abrogation.

This is a 1400 year old war. The only thing that's new and dangerous about the present battles in this war is the number of crazies intra muros in the West, who are willing to open the gates to the enemy.

And no, I am not a Christian. Just a guy who loves his country and his Freedom and who is aware of the fact that the Christian religion has given us much of what we are today. Even the ideas of Enlightenment would be impossible without Christianity.

Also, Anon, if you were to REALLY delve into the history of the Crusades, that every idiot digs up in any emotional discussion of moral equivalence, you would soon notice that even there, you are mistaken and that the crusades were sheer self defense of Christians against murderous rampaging muslims who preyed on convoys of peaceful pilgrims to the Holy Land.

11/12/09, 9:29 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Tiani said...

Thanks for your THOROUGH analysis, tomax7.
If you are suggesting that I was never a believer you are wrong, but I appreciate your apparent assumption that I wasn't, even though you have never met me. If you're curious why I abandoned superstition, it wasn't a watershed moment. It was after much "soul" searching and critical thinking that I came across my current state of mind. It also didn't help that children were being raped in God's own house by the very people that were supposed to speak for him. What kind of loving God is so lazy or inept that he ignores the prayers of children being violated in HIS OWN PLACE OF WORSHIP? I ask any posters to please spare me trite platitudes like "God works in mysterious ways."

11/12/09, 11:36 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony: "What kind of loving God is so lazy or inept that he ignores the prayers of children being violated"

Without knowing the background, the question I ask you is why no one around who did anything to prevent this?

We can say because we fear religious leaders, but that is our law, not God's. I don't pass that statement off easy either, I know first hand of the bondage we put ourselves in with that thinking.

Likewise, your 'watershed moment' does it indicate or lack of a real conversion to begin with?

Not rocket science, or thorough analysis, but a simple observation like Peter said, where would we go?

Sin is all around us. We are in a sinful world. Sin affects the innocent as well.

That is why it is important to stay focused on Jesus and not religious leaders, or the world.

I don't want to pass off what happened to those kids either, so don't get me wrong, but God is the last person to blame over what happened.

-tomax7

11/13/09, 2:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony: Watershed moment or not (you indicted not), please remember the God does love you in the person of Jesus Christ.

-tomax7

11/13/09, 3:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"...our Commander-in-chief lacks the will to oppose them"

What an assinine thing to say about a President who is, as we speak, waging a war on them.

Another disjointed mess of an article.

11/13/09, 11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here is what one of our Founding Fathers had to say about religion and utopia:

"Suppose a nation in some distant Region should take the Bible for their only law book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited.... What a utopia, what a paradise would this region be." - John Adams

Keep in mind that the bible would have us kill followers of other religions:

"If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)


Hmmmmmmm.

11/13/09, 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44 NASB)

As Anon would say "Hmmmmmmm."

Maybe some of us like Anon, ought to either learn how to read a whole Book or get with the times as in New Testament.

Personally I like the old KJV, it made the point more clearly:

"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;" (KJV)

11/13/09, 12:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And to think that Dawn claimed their were no contradictions in the bible!!

lol


"But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you" (Matthew 5:44 NASB)



"If your own full brother, or your son or daughter, or your beloved wife, or you intimate friend, entices you secretly to serve other gods, whom you and your fathers have not known, gods of any other nations, near at hand or far away, from one end of the earth to the other: do not yield to him or listen to him, nor look with pity upon him, to spare or shield him, but kill him. Your hand shall be the first raised to slay him; the rest of the people shall join in with you. You shall stone him to death, because he sought to lead you astray from the Lord, your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. And all Israel, hearing of this, shall fear and never do such evil as this in your midst. (Deuteronomy 13:7-12 NAB)

11/13/09, 1:35 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

"P.S. I have also had the opportunity at the Academy to befriend students from certain Communist countries... Believe it or not, I have not had my throat cut yet!"

Alex,

I was your x-country coach as well...if you're the Alex I'm thinking of anyway!!! I moved remember? I'll tell you those Prefontaine movies were shown more than 3 years!

I also was a dorm mom meaning I took kids into my home for years from all walks of life including Muslims. I even took a Muslim to my Christian Church once.

"HOWEVER, I feel the need to remind you (and all other posters, for that matter) that it is wrong to group all Muslims into one large, radical group."

The Quran is diff than the Bible. The Bible says to make peace as much as it's possible with you and to love your enemies. The Quran says no such thing. Jesus is not Mohammed. There is a big diff between the two. Big.

Their Gods ARE NOT the Same. Allah is not Jesus. Jesus is God in the flesh. Islam doesn't recognize that. Jesus is the OT God Jehovah. Read John 1 carefully sometime. That was the whole point of John's writing to show the deity of Christ.

I agree with what you said tho about the extremes. In the Christian faith Christ basically said said "go and tell. If they listen to you you have gained a brother if they don't shake the dust off your feet and move on." No violence wanted nor is it tolerated by Him.

That is not the Quran way. The Quran very specifically says to kill the infidels. Any who are not Muslim are infidels. The Muslims who are not following the book are not good Muslims. If all the Christians aren't doing what Christ said they are not good Christians.

I have a Jewish friend in Israel. He says test this out...walk down the middle of any Arab country as a Jew or even a Christian and see how safe you are. Hopefully you'll make it out alive. Then walk down any Jewish street in Israel as either a Muslim or a Christian and notice the difference. He as a Jew is very afraid of being in a Muslim country. Why is that?

Nice chatting with you Alex!

11/13/09, 2:36 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

And to think that Dawn claimed their were no contradictions in the bible!!

There aren't. Again..you don't understand the bible.

The OT mandate you listed was mandated to the Jewish Nation governmentally for a specific purpose.

The NT command by Christ was speaking to individuals. That was part of his sermon on the Mount on how to live as Godly people. (Chap 5-7).

In other words, one is about corporate war, the other is about living personally with others.

No contradiction. Again taking things out of context because you don't understand doesn't make it a contradiction.

11/13/09, 2:42 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

"Keep in mind that the bible would have us kill followers of other religions:"

AGAIN...you have to go back to Jewish OT history to come up with this. That was the Old Covenant.

Christ came and ushered in the New Covenant. There were reasons for these very what seems to be extreme actions on the part of Israel in the OT. God was gathering a people for his name (The Jews) and it was very very very important that this people stay holy (separate) from the other sinful nations of the world.

The reason? One was because the Jews were supposed to be the light to all the nations of the world. They were to point to Jehovah God

Most important is the fact that the Messiah, who alone could save the world of sin sickness was to be born thru the line of Judah. The line had to remain pure and clean for Jesus to be born.

That's why the geneologies are so important. More than once the Kingly line (and the rest of the Jews for that matter) were almost wiped out. Remember Moses birth? Remember Christ birth? Remember "kill all the male babies under two?" This happend a few other times. It was most important for Satan to wipe out this line. The whole story of the OT and the NT is about Jesus. That's the whole point of the book!

It's all about good and evil. Bad company corrupts good character. Just ask any parent or teacher. God was saying, keep them away. It was imperative and for the sake of the whole world. Yes, some had to die for the sake of the whole world.

11/13/09, 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Bible is riddled with contradictions...for instance, Genesis 1 and 2 disagree about the order in which things are created, and how satisfied God is about the results of his labors. The flood story is really two interwoven stories that contradict each other on how many of each kind of animal are to be brought into the Ark--is it one pair each or seven pairs each of the "clean" ones? The Gospel of John disagrees with the other three Gospels on the activities of Jesus Christ (how long had he stayed in Jerusalem--a couple of days or a whole year?) and all four Gospels contradict each other on the details of Jesus Christ's last moments and resurrection. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke contradict each other on the genealogy of Jesus Christ's father; though both agree that Joseph was not his real father. Repetitions and contradictions are understandable for a hodgepodge collection of documents, but not for some carefully constructed treatise, reflecting a well-thought-out plan.

Here are a couple of methods I've seen to "explain" these:

1. "That is to be taken metaphorically." In other words, what is written is not what is meant. I find this entertaining, especially for those who decide what ISN'T to be taken as other than the absolute WORD OF GOD--which just happens to agree with the particular thing they happen to want...



2. "It has to be understood in context." I find this amusing because it comes from the same crowd that likes to push likewise extracted verses that support their particular view. Often it is just one of the verses in the contradictory set which is supposed to be taken as THE TRUTH when, if you add more to it, it suddenly becomes "out of context." How many of you have gotten JUST John 3:16 (taken out of all context) thrown at you?

11/13/09, 2:57 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

"It was after much "soul" searching and critical thinking that I came across my current state of mind. It also didn't help that children were being raped in God's own house by the very people that were supposed to speak for him. What kind of loving God is so lazy or inept that he ignores the prayers of children being violated in HIS OWN PLACE OF WORSHIP?"

I agree this was a good reason to leave and many did. But please don't blame God for what these awful people did. This is where man's freewill comes in. God created us with freewill for a purpose. The freedom that allows us to sin also allows us to love.

Just know that everything that happens to us is filtered thru the hands of a loving God. It grieves him even more than it does us to see such rampant sin. Read the words of Jesus at the end of Matt 23 to see what I mean. He wept over the sins of his own people and turned and left them because of it.


Sadly you don't. You know the letter of the law, but not the Spirit of it.

-tomax7


I agree. You've said some pretty good things Tomax.

11/13/09, 3:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have some honest questions - is god powerless to intervene in such matters as the killing and sexual torture of young children?

If not, then why does he allow it?

This may sound sacriligious, but the world would certainly be a better place if I were god.If I were all powerful I would not allow such attrocities to occur. I would make humankind be good to one another.

What a strange notion - a mere mortal could do a beter job than god!

11/13/09, 3:08 PM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

The Bible is riddled with contradictions...for instance, Genesis 1 and 2

Can you for just a moment take a deep breath and think just maybe...just maybe the problem isn't with the bible but with your understanding of it? I've read this book for more than 40 years..not just read it but studied it and taught it extensively. There's not even one contradiction. It's a repeated lie that has no merit at all.

"Here are a couple of methods I've seen to "explain" these:"

ok throw out explanation #1. Not even close.

#2 has some merit. Context is very important, but let me add to it.

The first chapter is all about creation from a chronological point of view. It's a detailed account of the whole of creation.

The second chapter zooms in on just mankind so it's topical. The focus is NOT chronological but topical and v4 gives you the hint.

Does this help?

11/13/09, 3:10 PM  
Anonymous Dawn said...

"I have some honest questions - is god powerless to intervene in such matters as the killing and sexual torture of young children?

If not, then why does he allow it?"

God is not limited in anyway nor powerless. The why questions are very hard sometimes to answer. God does intervene at times. We hear stories after stories that He does.

God created mankind with freewill. What you're asking is akin to saying you believe that God should have made us all robots to do exactly as He commands. He commands us not to murder but we murder anyway. He commands us to love but we hate anyway. He commands us to be kind but we are nasty anyway.

He wrote to us this thru James to warn us:

"From where do wars and fightings come among you? Do they not come from your lusts that war in your members? You lust and have not you kill and desire to have and cannot obtain, you fight and war yet you have not because you ask not."

All I can tell you in a nutshell is there is a great big plan going on right now and when it's finished we will all understand and it will make total sense. For some of us it will be too late and for others we will be overjoyed.

Quite often we have no use for God until something bad happens and then when it does we blame him..don't we?

11/13/09, 3:19 PM  
Anonymous Anthony Tiani said...

"Anthony: Watershed moment or not (you indicted not), please remember the God does love you in the person of Jesus Christ."

Guess you didn't read the part where I asked to be spared of meaningless platitudes. It is the crutch of the weak-minded (not calling you weak specifically).

"But please don't blame God for what these awful people did." Exactly, Dawn! It WAS man. That is my whole point! What you and others call "Satan", I call a scapegoat for mankind's capacity for cruelty.

"God does intervene at times. We hear stories after stories that He does." So you agree that he does intervene but that we also have free will? What examples are you speaking of? What you call intervention I call chance--50/50 odds, not a weird undefinable omnipresent being. Why would a loving God grant Johnny everyman a promotion at work but not alleviate the unfathomable suffering in places like Sudan?

Anyway, I am under no allusions that anyone's mind will be changed. I just love healthy debate. I also have nothing personal against anyone here and base my opinions on character solely and do not take religious belief into consideration whatsoever. Thanks to everyone who keeps this civil.

-Anthony

11/13/09, 4:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Exactly, Dawn! It WAS man. That is my whole point! What you and others call "Satan", I call a scapegoat for mankind's capacity for cruelty."

Anthony...You're only looking at the fruit not the root. Go deeper.

When you look around and see anger, hatred, violence, impatience etc. what you're seeing is the fruit. The root is spiritual. It's deep down. Don't discount that.

It's similar to planting a garden. We see, after a time, the fruits of our labors. We look at the beautiful tomatoes and melons and exclaim at how nice or how rotten they turned out. But the real workings came under the ground. It's the root that makes the fruit. It's the root that either gets the nourishment or it doesn't. When it gets what it needs it produces beautiful fruit, when it doesn't it either doesn't produce at all or it produces inferior fruit.

It's the same with us. There is a spiritual warfare going on for men's souls. God's desire is that we get the nourishment we need to be healthy. Satan's desire is to thwart that process by throwing everything in our way to stop it. He cuts us off at the root doing everything in his power to make sure we don't get what we need to produce beautiful healthy fruit. God says "grow" and Satan sais "die."

That's what we're seeing as we look around the world today. Go deeper.

11/14/09, 11:18 AM  
Anonymous DAWN said...

whoops! That last comment was mine.

11/14/09, 11:19 AM  

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