Intolerance and hate!

In reading this last chapter in C&N, I was really struck by the evidence of such hatred and then I read some more and realized why. The author mentioned something that struck me as very important, he said we wouldn’t hear much about these groups online because these are websites that you have to look for. So, naturally I would never look for them, but I thought about who might. Those who are young and ignorant might find something in these twisted writings to identify with? Those that have felt marginalized? They prey on people who don’t think for themselves.

The thing that really disturbs me the most is, on one hand it is about advancing some great values and then it spews hate in the name of religion. I feel like that is the worst thing you can do in the name of religion. They are subtle, and they are accessing the internet and finding new ways to reach people, to pretend they are a different group. When I saw that the group trying to enlightened children was put out by David Duke, I am not even a knowledgeable person when it comes to this stuff but being a History major, we are taught to read about the author and see why they wrote this stuff. I remember him years ago spewing his same hate. Dangerous people, they certainly are.

Those people ought to be ashamed, to try to trick children into believing terrible things that are un-true by using a music CD. It is disturbing to me too as a parent, I would be livid if my son or daughter came home with something like that. The sad fact of the matter is, we will always have people like this, they have the anonymity of the internet to get material that they wish and share with those people who believe as they do. Just being aware that they are out there is education to protect ourselves. Always see who is putting this information out, and who they are and what have they done in the past.

To speak to the religious aspect of these readings, it is interesting how they feel threatened when a women has a brain to think for themselves. They make it seem like white women are seduced by priests and feminist thinking, they need guidance. Things were fine when the men were in charge, but were they really? If I know my history, I will see that women were second class citizens and barely got to vote because of these outstanding leaders. We were supposed to only be mothers, and take care of the home, not be too educated because then we would get ideas.

I guess I just get perplexed about things like this. I don’t understand why we need to hate people, make up lies about them, and push agenda that is contrary to Christ. I am looking through my lenses and I am really thankful for this class because it has opened my eyes so much to this stuff. Things that I believed have changed dramatically. I have never believed hateful stuff, but I was not always aware of all the information. That is changing, thankfully!!!

Fitting the Generation

This week’s readings, especially “Millennial Generation Challenges Religion in America”, were very interesting since it brought up a point that we have discussed a few times this semester. Religions are not stagnate, they change with the people to stay relevant because if they do not change then they dwindle away to nothing. I think it’s this reason that religion will never really go away in America even if the number of people going to church drops. Large religions like Christianity will change to fit it’s new audience and these religions will carry on similarly to how they did before.

One issue I had with “Millennial Generation Challenges Religion in America” however was that they kept saying that we were either at our lowest or highest points ever in the history of America but then turned around and said that these trends go in circles and that religion as we see it now will make a resurgence in a few generations. If we have never seen numbers like we are now then there is no evidence that it will circle back to where we came from. The article follows that up with even more talk about how America is more diverse than ever which makes the paragraph talking about future generations bringing back tradition religion seem very out of place.

More Spiritual than Religious

If I had a dime for every time I heard a person say, “I am more spiritual than religious,” I would probably be rich. I completely understand where the article is coming from, because people do tend to say that a lot. I know many people who do believe in God, but are against attending church because they do not believe in the way the church works. I thought the Millennial Generation Challenges Religion in America article was very interesting. I also agree that churches need to find a way to connect with people in order for people to continue to attend. At the same time, it is important that each individual finds what is right for them and follow their own beliefs.

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Final Blog Post: Conclusions/ Millenials and religion

I personally enjoyed the conclusion of Religious Intolerance in America. I liked how the text took specific documents from History to point out the very real religious intolerance that has existed since the very first colonies arose in this country. Yet, in recognizing that intolerance has been such a huge part of our History (rather than the U.S. being the tolerant nation that many anthems and lessons in grade-school make it out to be) I’ve also become a little more skeptical of whether or not universal tolerance can ever be achieved. I’m trying to think of the possibility of a future in which the idea of the “Other” does not exist, but it seems like an idealistic hope. Especially with the sociological idea pointed out that “Societies, religious communities, and persons, in order to have an identity, require an idea of boundary that defines them in relation to others.” I am not entirely pessimistic though. I know plenty of people who are, for the most part, tolerant individuals who seek to understand those who differ from them, rather than paint them to be evil or dangerous. I really enjoyed how the very last thing in the book is a list of ways to fight hate. I thought the list was very informative and especially like how number ten asks the reader to ‘Dig Deeper’ Mainly the idea to ‘Look inside yourself for prejudices and stereotypes”

Do you think that the fact that many Millenials don’t espouse themselves to a certain faith, finding themselves “more spiritual than religious” is evidence that organized religion might become a thing of the past, perhaps, a few generations from now? How would you define and contrast spirituality with organized religion?

 

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Is Christmas the real issue?

The meaning of Christmas has changed over the years.  Many people no longer celebrate the true purpose of this occasion.  I think it is ridicules that society has come to suing over Christmas and the court system having power over people’s rights to freedom of speech, specifically when the words Merry Christmas is not offensive or derogatory.  I believe because we do live in a multicultural environment we should be mindful to be more of an inclusive society by not being one sided.    The controversies over religious beliefs have become so prevalent today people take minor differences and turn them into major issues for their own agenda.

Spreading Christmas Cheer????

Reading Rob Boston’s “Is There a War on Christmas?” I tried to be open minded and to hear the argument he brought to the table. When I was a kid, you didn’t hear happy holidays we said “Merry Christmas.” I can see both sides of this argument because I am a Christian but a tolerant one I would like to think. IF you don’t celebrate Christmas that is fine, I don’t want to make you. I find it funny that Merry Christmas offends you but Happy Holidays doesn’t. Let’s be reasonable people here and not try to ruin things for those that do believe. Christmas is Christmas, everyone knows that is what is celebrated December 25th. What is the big deal?
On the other hand, it is a little crazy that we need lawyers to be able to express our Christian faith. When groups that are politically motivated get involved things get fanatical and usually don’t represent the majority of Americans. Like I said, when I was a kid we did have students that were not allowed to participate for reasons of their own and they went to another classroom and didn’t participate. There was no back lash or punishing the child. The parents of that child didn’t resort to suing the school district because the majority of kids did participate. I do believe that some groups like the ADF and ACLU have went overboard. The sad part about it all is, it is actually hurting the American public who initially didn’t have a problem with any of this stuff and didn’t want it to be a big deal. This is what happens when politics drives agenda.
Reading Jonah Goldberg’s “Evolution of Religious Bigotry,” I was equally surprised that someone from the Los Angeles Times would defend Christian symbols and point out progressive’s bias when it comes to fanatical/radical Muslim behavior. Goldberg points out that progressives like the fact that they (Muslim fanatic) reserve their passion and scorn for religious Christians who are neither fanatical nor inclined to use violence. This is the issues coming out of the Netherlands because of some religious extreme views and Muslims fanatics going after each other. We all remember the Cartoon and the result of that.
Goldberg also pointed out the fact that those who criticize or mock the Jesus Fish with the Darwin Jesus Fish, usually have some sort of sticker on their cars with tolerance and or hate is not a family value. He really hit the nail on the head when he said if it was directed at women or minorities, it would be offensive but because it is directed at Christians, it is acceptable. We have discussed this in class many times. The way people are intolerant is done in ways that make people seem like it isn’t really true, but in joking manners and they want a pass.
For me, I think people should be allowed to express Christmas as they wish. If Christmas offends you, I am sorry, I really am. Just don’t partake. I don’t wish in any way to stop anyone of another faith to be able to express an important expression of their faith during a holy time. I only expect the same in return.

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War On XMas

For quite sometime I have been bothered with the tenure and tone that the discussion on Christmas has taken in our country.  I have wondered why the name shortening was such a big deal to some and not to others.  I have constantly conversed with friends, family, strangers, and pretty much anyone willing to engage me in conversation about what is the true meaning of Christmas for real.  And of course there are a myriad of opinions that are out there.  And I cannot truthfully say that I agreed with any or all of them. But I have always wondered how people thought about the subject.  Some of those opinions are (I admit I am biased) really out there.

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OK.  So, some well informed and scholarly individuals often bring up the timing of the holiday for historical fact and they wonder why do we Christians hold December 25 as the birthdate of the messiah?  When in fact we know that this is not indeed the actual birthdate of Christ.  And so what is the big deal?  I am often asked that question.  Also, I get the “Well you know Christmas is really and historically a pagan holiday”.  And so why all the hubbub about this being a Christian holiday.  As if Christian co-opted the day from a secular world celebration.  Wouldn’t that be a good thing if you were a Christian.  What are we worried about, it being taken back?  And recently I was approached to explain “Why don’t you Christians like Halloween?” and this one was rooted in the previously mentioned idea of Christmas ALSO being a pagan holiday “just like Halloween”.  And again I wondered “aren’t we Christians trying to offer alternative celebrations (I.e. Harvest Night, Hallelujah Fest) to counteract the costumes, harmful candy, and witchcraft?  Again isn’t that a good thing?

So what about this argument of the X-MAS vs. Christmas
Well according to Snoopes.com  The abbreviation of ‘Xmas’ for ‘Christmas’ is neither modern nor disrespectful. The notion that it is a new and vulgar representation of the word ‘Christmas’ seems to stem from the erroneous belief that the letter ‘X’ is used to stand for the word ‘Christ’ because of its resemblance to a cross, or that the abbreviation was deliberately concocted “to take the ‘Christ’ out of Christmas.”  Actually, this usage is nearly as old as Christianity itself, and its origins lie in the fact that the first letter in the Greek word for ‘Christ’ is ‘chi,’ and the Greek letter ‘chi’ is represented by a symbol similar to the letter ‘X’ in the modern Roman alphabet. Hence ‘Xmas’ is indeed perfectly legitimate abbreviation for the word ‘Christmas’ (just as ‘Xian’ is also sometimes used as an abbreviation of the word ‘Christian’).

None of this means that Christians (and others) aren’t perhaps justified in feeling a little miffed when people take the shortcut of writing ‘Xmas’ rather than ‘Christmas,’ but the point is that the abbreviation was not created specifically for the purpose of demeaning Christ, Christians, Christianity, or Christmas: it’s a very old artifact of a very different language.

Thanks Snoopes.com and Professor Matthews for directing me to the site.