Today’s Newspaper Roundup

First, we have a couple great letters-to-the-editor. These are from the Chicago Tribune, in response to their article about Camp Quest:

I continue to be amazed at the special treatment that religion receives and hope that the work of people like camp founders Edwin and Helen Kagin helps keep the mythology in churches where it belongs.

… Everything we teach our children should be based on giving good knowledge and wisdom and then hoping (and helping) the child to choose well.

If my son becomes religious someday, I certainly would be disappointed; but it wouldn’t make me happy if he ended up being a fan of country music, reality TV or the Cubs either.

That’s from GianCarlo Nardini. Jan Weller of Chicago also has this to say:

The brave atheists [reporter Ron Grossman] profiled — particularly the children — are inspiring.

Belief in a deity doesn’t necessarily lead to genuine morality, nor does the lack of such belief automatically lead to amorality. I consider myself to be an incredibly ethical and compassionate human being, and I reached this state without any formal religious upbringing.

And boy am I glad I never had to go through that brain-washing regimen.

Sadly, the Christians reading that letter probably dismissed everything Jan wrote after they saw the brain-washing comment… which is disappointing considering the letter is otherwise accessible to everyone.

But it’s not nearly as bad as this guy from The Ocala Star-Banner:

Any person who can use logic and reason can see the Christian world view is reasonable, plausible and more logical than any evolution theory ever presented.

Who are these ignorant, hateful people who attack a way of life proven to produce good children, a long healthy life full of peace and goodness? What good has ever been created by an atheist? None.

Why do you give them a non-challenged forum to present their perverted positions? Let’s open this to debate and see whose position falls apart.

I’m never sure whether these types of comments deserve a response or not. It’s apparent nothing will get through to them, anyway.

In other news…

Muhammad Ali’s training facility is up for sale on eBay! It’s an unusual item, and it’s never certain how these things will sell.

We then get a list of unusual eBay items: Fingernails of a killer. A grandmother. Virginity. Britney Spears’ chopped off hair. This guy who sold his soul on eBay. The Pope’s old car.

Great juxtaposition at the end there.

Finally, the New York Times discusses all the religious social networking sites, including HisHolySpace.

Caitlin Todd enjoys making friends on social networking Web sites, but is turned off by content that she believes is inappropriate on a number of popular pages.

So Caitlin, 16, meets people only on Christian social sites like www.hisholyspace.com and www.xianz.com, where profanity is prohibited, prayer is urged and content is strictly monitored.

“I use Xianz because it is a place that I can come to and have fellowship with friends. Sharing God’s word and helping others,” Caitlin wrote in an e-mail message. “Xianz is like a big church!”

You gotta love the idea of social networking sites where you choose to cut yourself off from large segments of society.


[tags]Chicago Tribune, Camp Quest, Edwin Kagin, Helen Kagin, Christian, Cubs, GianCarlo Nardini, Jan Weller, Chicago Tribune, Ron Grossman, The Ocala Star-Banner, evolution, Muhammad Ali, eBay, virginity, Britney Spears, Pope, New York Times, HisHolySpace, Caitlin Todd, God[/tags]

  • http://t3knomanser.livejournal.com t3knomanser

    Isn’t that the point of all social networking sites?

  • http://suttsteve.com Steve Sutton

    The responses from the Christians are just sad.

  • anti-nonsense

    I can sympathize with the desire to avoid the idiocy that fills Myspace. Although they probably have a different definition of “idiocy” then I do.

  • http://www.goodsoldier.org Montez

    Can someone please help me find an answer to the following question?

    Why do most atheist and religious people blame each other’s beliefs for the problems in our world today?

    In this world, there are what I call good people, bad people, ignorant people, sane people, crazy people, poor people, rich people, educated people…etc. And these people all fall in every category: atheist, Christians…etc.

    Atheism cannot commit murder, nor can Christianity. A PERSON HAS TO BE INVOLVED. Has anyone forgotten the fact that all people have a mind of their own?

    What about the people? Could there be ( just a maybe) something wrong with the person? Why are you guys blaming each other? Are you guys seeing something that I can not see with my own natural eyes? If so, please…I beg you…prove it to me pleaseeee…

  • Richard Wade

    Montez,
    Since I don’t know “most atheists and religious people,” I can’t answer your question. And since I dare say you don’t know most of them either, I don’t understand how you can assert that they actually do blame each other for the problems in our world today. But your point may simply be that too many do, which is a sad truth.

    Be that as it may, you make a very important point about it really being about people. People are subject to their various vices and virtues; to their greed and generosity, their anger and compassion, their ignorance and wisdom, their fear and courage. So you are right to point out that people’s individual personal traits are very much involved in the good and bad things they choose to do in the world, regardless of their belief systems.

    However, beliefs, ideas, ideologies, philosophies and world views, in a word, the “isms” also have a profound effect on the behaviors of people. They can persuade enormous numbers of individuals to set aside their personal vices and do good things instead. Or they can persuade the same people to set aside their virtues and do terrible evil, or at least stand passively by and let it happen.

    That is why positive, respectful debate and discourse over different “isms” is very important in a shrinking world filled with dangerous weapons so readily at hand. Many, many people are afraid but nobody believes that they personally are evil. No, it’s got to be the “other guys” who are the bad guys. So too often we slip into blaming and name-calling rather than working together to find mutually acceptable solutions to the very dangerous problems facing all of us.

    I often get a mental picture of two bickering people standing in a burning house blaming each other’s negligence for the fire. They both die pointing their fingers at each other because they didn’t work together to put out the fire. You may have heard it before, but a wonderful old recovering drunk was the first person to tell me that when you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

    Another good bit of wisdom is “Don’t fix the blame, fix the problem.”

    So perhaps not ALL of us are into the blame game.

  • Maria

    Montez,
    Since I don’t know “most atheists and religious people,” I can’t answer your question. And since I dare say you don’t know most of them either, I don’t understand how you can assert that they actually do blame each other for the problems in our world today. But your point may simply be that too many do, which is a sad truth.

    Be that as it may, you make a very important point about it really being about people. People are subject to their various vices and virtues; to their greed and generosity, their anger and compassion, their ignorance and wisdom, their fear and courage. So you are right to point out that people’s individual personal traits are very much involved in the good and bad things they choose to do in the world, regardless of their belief systems.

    However, beliefs, ideas, ideologies, philosophies and world views, in a word, the “isms” also have a profound effect on the behaviors of people. They can persuade enormous numbers of individuals to set aside their personal vices and do good things instead. Or they can persuade the same people to set aside their virtues and do terrible evil, or at least stand passively by and let it happen.

    That is why positive, respectful debate and discourse over different “isms” is very important in a shrinking world filled with dangerous weapons so readily at hand. Many, many people are afraid but nobody believes that they personally are evil. No, it’s got to be the “other guys” who are the bad guys. So too often we slip into blaming and name-calling rather than working together to find mutually acceptable solutions to the very dangerous problems facing all of us.

    I often get a mental picture of two bickering people standing in a burning house blaming each other’s negligence for the fire. They both die pointing their fingers at each other because they didn’t work together to put out the fire. You may have heard it before, but a wonderful old recovering drunk was the first person to tell me that when you point your finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you.

    Another good bit of wisdom is “Don’t fix the blame, fix the problem.”

    So perhaps not ALL of us are into the blame game

    That was great!

  • http://www.goodsoldier.org Montez

    Richard,
    It is okay for you to say that I don’t know “most” of them; because I do not, and I am not afraid to admit it. As you may already know, it would be impossible to interview every person in the entire world.

    I used the mathematical formulas of Probabilities and Statistic – which will generally put you as close as humanly possible to the correct answer.

    I took a good sample from the entire population and performed my own calculations, and that’s where the “most” came from. I did not say ALL.

    I totally agree with you in regards to the “isms” having a profound effect on the behaviors of people. However, there always appear to be a person in the driver’s seat of the “isms”. And unfortunately, “most” people do not have the time to do their own research. So they (“most”) rely on the integrity of the driver’s of the “isms” that in which they (“most”) could most likely relate to. What a tragedy!

    I like the good bit of wisdom “Don’t fix the blame, fix the problem.” However, the people involved have to fix the problem. Not a Superman.

    My hope is that you were not insinuating that I should fix the problem. I am doing my part to the best of my ability, but I already know that I cannot change the mind and the will of a people. Do you know of one person in this world who could fix the problem? Is so please give me that person’s contact info, because their work is loooong… over due.

  • Darryl

    Can someone please help me find an answer to the following question?

    Why do most atheist and religious people blame each other’s beliefs for the problems in our world today?

    In this world, there are what I call good people, bad people, ignorant people, sane people, crazy people, poor people, rich people, educated people…etc. And these people all fall in every category: atheist, Christians…etc.

    Of course, but are you, by this categorization, avoiding the problem of religion? You seem to be formulating a recipe for inaction. Let’s see how long you can hold to it.

    Atheism cannot commit murder, nor can Christianity. A PERSON HAS TO BE INVOLVED. Has anyone forgotten the fact that all people have a mind of their own?

    What about the people? Could there be ( just a maybe) something wrong with the person? Why are you guys blaming each other? Are you guys seeing something that I can not see with my own natural eyes? If so, please…I beg you…prove it to me pleaseeee…

    Don’t hold your breath for proof. And, by the way, what proof do you have of your assertion “all people have a mind of their own?”

    You may be overestimating the abilities of average people.

  • Richard Wade

    Montez,
    We may be talking past each other and misunderstanding. I think that you and I are basically in agreement about the importance of people taking personal responsibility for their behavior and for contributing to both the problems and the solutions to the problems in the world.

    I agree with you that blaming and pointing fingers is a destructive waste of time and I would add an abdication of responsibility. For this read “response ability,” the ability to respond. I also agree with you that many people rely on the leadership of authorities in their belief systems, be it clerics, experts, authors or politicians. This is very unfortunate because they are often mislead to serve the selfish goals of those leaders, or the first lofty goals of the leaders can become corrupted by the power that they gain.

    I apologize if my remonstration for your saying “most” instead of “a lot of those I have heard” started us out on the wrong foot. I did not mean to sound harsh or hostile.

    I was not implying that you by yourself or a superman should fix all the messes that you can see. I’m not sure how I was unclear, but I will take the response-ability and clarify now: What you and I are striving to do right now is an example of what I mean by fixing. We are going back and forth in a sincere effort to clarify our ideas and to ask the other for clarification of the other’s ideas. We’re not just going back and forth blaming each other; that is the useless bad habit that we both agree doesn’t help. So we state our views, see where we were not fully understood, re-clarify, help each other where we have overstated, and gradually move toward a sense of unity or agreement. Only after we have learned to understand each other can we form cooperative plans to effect change on problems we both see. I spend a large portion of my time in various discussions not arguing about viewpoints but talking about how to respectfully and positively argue for the benefit of all.

    So to answer your question of who do I know who can fix these problems, the answer is you and me. We can do as you say, our part to the best of our ability, and also to spread the idea of getting past blame and moving toward each person using their ability to respond, or responsibility. We don’t necessarily have to agree with all of another’s views to effect a positive change, just sow the seeds of positive and respectful dialogue for the purpose of mutual benefit. Each person has more ability than they realize when you count the ability to spread a good idea. Once enough people get the good idea, such as solutions are far more important than blame, then each person’s small contribution to those solutions can make real change.

    The most important problem to solve first is the common mis-communications that happen between people. Once that is improved through better habits of careful clarification, then solution-oriented suggestions can be shared that will be embraced by people who used to be opposed to each other.

  • http://www.goodsoldier.org Montez

    Richard,
    I totally agree with!!


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