Cowart's Common Room
Pause for Thought

A friend sent me this and I thought I woudl pas sit on wihtout commetn so here you are...

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

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, bejewelled 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 crèche, 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.

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 neighbour 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 yet?

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

Posted at 3rd Mar 2009 - 08:10AM   Posted by Unpeuloufoque   Pause for Thought Comments: 17

Faith's Avatar I have tears in my eyes and will copy, paste and pass it on.

God bless.


Posted by: Faith on 3rd Mar 2009 at 08:14AM

Muddyboots's Avatar LaughingLaughing

Posted by: Muddyboots on 3rd Mar 2009 at 08:46AM

Boudicca23's Avatar I'm going to stick my head above the parapets here and say that I find it very sad (and completely unacceptable) that those with a faith believe they are the only ones to have a moral code. You will always find people, whether they subscribe to a particular belief system or not, who will do the horrible things mentioned. Religion does not have the right to point the finger of blame at atheists when we can just as soon turn round and point at practically every single war in history, the Inquisition, witch burnings.

I know the difference between right and wrong and I do not need to rely on some invisible presence in my life to guide me. I would suggest reading 'The God Delusion' by Richard Dawkins to gain a bit of perspective. /Rant mode off.

Posted by: Boudicca23 on 3rd Mar 2009 at 09:19AM

Exmoorjane's Avatar I reckon Boudicca has a very good point. I have no problem with religion at all (providing nobody is trying to convert me or tell me that their religion is the Only Way) but I totally agree that religion is not the only way to morality and decency and common-sense.
Public discussion of God (whatever you perceive Him/Her/It to be) should not be suppressed in schools - but my personal feeling is that it would be great to teach true comparitive religion (along with philosophy) - yes, even to very young children. Much of the war, violence and hate in our world sadly comes from misguided 'faith'. If we could teach the similarities between religions - and also look at our urge/need to find meaning and how and why that manifests in religion, then we might (just might) see some sense appearing. A forlorn hope, I know.

Posted by: Exmoorjane on 3rd Mar 2009 at 09:35AM

Exmoorjane's Avatar btw, discussing religion (along with politics and hunting!) is always dangerous. Can I ask upfront that we keep this debate (and sure it'll be a great one) respectful and calm? Sure we'll have some wildly differing opinions which is all to the good. Smile

Posted by: Exmoorjane on 3rd Mar 2009 at 09:50AM

Suffolkmum's Avatar Hear hear Jane (to both posts). Personally, whilst I have no problem either with people having Faith, and think we are in danger of forgetting that Christianity is an important part of our cultural heritage, there were several things about the post that I didn't like at all. Poor old Dr Spock ALWAYS gets drawn in, for a start! I didn't think much of Billy Graham's daughter's response, either. Her God must be pretty touchy.

Posted by: Suffolkmum on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:01AM

Suffolkmum's Avatar Also, what's with the bits pointing out that one woman who renounced God was murdered, and Dr Spock's son committed suicide? Is he trying to make some link? I think things like that are awful. Just to be balanced, though, I agree about Christmas. And in case I am coming over as unduly aggressive, I apologise in advance - I love a good debate and plunge straight in, and never mean to cause offence (or take offence).

Posted by: Suffolkmum on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:08AM

LittleBrownDog's Avatar Yes, yes SM - while I don't have a problem with other people's beliefs, I do find the suggestion that things like Hurricaine Katrina and people getting killed or committing suicide is connected with their lack of belief very worrying. Sad

Posted by: LittleBrownDog on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:23AM

LittleBrownDog's Avatar ...And could I also point out that many of the recent terrorist attacks both here and in the States are directly connected with people's religious beliefs.

Personally, one of the main problems I find with organised religion is the categorising of things (and people) into 'good' and 'evil' - that was the whole basis of Bush's misguided 'war on terror'. And where did it get us? The world is much more complex than that.

Posted by: LittleBrownDog on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:29AM

Unpeuloufoque's Avatar Please note as pointed out at the top ( well I thought I had by putting without comment but perhaps I didn't make it clear enough) that these arent necessarily my views, that I just thought it might be interesting to se peopels reatons. It certainly has! Thats waht debate is about after all, not attackm not defense but discusion of views in order to gain a better understaning of each other. Please do not shot the messengerLaughingLaughingLaughing

EJ we did comparitive relion at school from an early age, so I don't think your hope is forlorn at all!!

Posted by: Unpeuloufoque on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:32AM

Ivy's Avatar I liked the introduction but not the conclusion. (I don't think God has withdrawn but that's my personal belief)
I am not bothered about different religions and I want to live my ownn displaying Christmas trees, decorating the house with wreaths, putting up Easter eggs in the trees in the garden etc. and I want everybody to enjoy it with me but I would also welcome anybody else to do similar displays of their festivities (if it was their tradition or felt just right for them) as long as they respect my believes. (I am willing to do the same by the way)
What I find absolutely wrong is if a secular state all of a sudden jumps in and says you are not to hand out Easter eggs or hot cross buns in schools because it might offend children from other believes. I don't think anybody feels offended by a bun (we are not talking about pork sausages!!) ! If they don't want it they don't need to take it. Those parents from different believes should much rather start an initiative to hand out Mazza or what ever food to their childrens class mates. There are so many lovely traditions we don't know about, why not show them with pride? And so many of "our" traditions have their roots in foreign cultures like rice at a wedding, the German Ester bread, Christmas crackers, Easter eggs... you name them they come from other than Christian tradition but were adopted. I find it so sad that those common values are so often put in the background rather than pointing them out. (Caring for the poor and disadvantaged is a value that comes with most religions pity and forgiving too, they are not a Christian invention) And I don't mean to say you need to be religious to follow those morals but what we regard as a moral life today is founded on religious traditions( but where did they actually come from?). In all great cultures there have been people perverting the system and bending the rules but what people make of it, is not necessarily what the founders actually put down as standards.

Linked Image

Posted by: Ivy on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:36AM

LittleBrownDog's Avatar Certainly wouldn't want to shoot anyone, UPL - least of all you Very Happy. V interesting debate - I think it's important to talk about these things and v interested to hear what everyone else has to say.

(PS Love your rant on/off sign, Ivy!)

Posted by: LittleBrownDog on 3rd Mar 2009 at 10:38AM

Fennie's Avatar Live and let live is my motto. Religion undoubtedly has a lot to answer for in this world, yet it undoubtedly also has much to its credit. It can be used to good and evil ends and has been throughout the ages. The same pen that orders the building of a sublime cathedral signs the death by burning warrant of some poor mad soul deemed a heretic.

The fact that followers different religions and sometimes the same religion have been at each others throats since their religions were created is no great advertisement for religion, when all claim peace and the moral high ground. It just goes to show that at the end of the day God may or may not be in his heaven, but how you choose to live is up to you.

On the question of Christmas trees, I once knew a dear old man, who happened to be Jewish and who ran a large Christmas tree factory here in Wales. He's dead now and the factory closed, but at his funeral his son, with typical Jewish self-deprecation, asked how it was that his orthodox father should have become 'the largest maker of Christmas trees in the world - after God.'

Posted by: Fennie on 3rd Mar 2009 at 12:41PM

Muddyboots's Avatar having read the post 1st thing & gone back to it now, am l the only one who gave a hollow laugh? It is what l would expect coming from America, but l am surprised that this has come from a Jew. Without wishing to sound revolutionary, l am glad that l am English where for most of the time we do seem to have a sense of proportion on life, we can laugh at ourselves as well as with each other and have learnt in our long history some sort of toleration, an acceptance of other peoples and customs which has resulted in an almost multi-cultural society. we have had our wars of religion.

Posted by: Muddyboots on 3rd Mar 2009 at 04:12PM

Great debating post UPL.
WW, do you think you could move it to a forum as I suspect it has a long way to run...

Posted by: @themill on 3rd Mar 2009 at 05:56PM

Withy Brook's Avatar Unfortunately, WW has gone South to HS's Father's funeral, but I am sure she will move when she comes back. I am afraid I don't know how, though there may be another moderator who does.
This is a good debate and everyone seems to be giving it deep thought and replying as they see it. I think you mostly know that I am an active Anglican and believe in God. However, I do not believe He rules everything that happens. He gave us free will and we, being human, use that free will in good ways and bad. I am at ease with all religions, so long as they do not say that we should all believe what they believe. One thing that makes me very angry is the changing of Christmas to Winter Festival, banning Christian stuff in schools etc. They do not seem to ban the festivals etc of the other faiths that have arrived in this Country. I believe that they should all be accepted and children should be taught something of them all. As far as I can make out members of other faiths and none are perfectly happy with it all, so long as they are not forced to believe it, just as I am happy with them and their faith or none.
Long may this debate run with friendship and respect for each other!

Posted by: Withy Brook on 3rd Mar 2009 at 09:11PM

I grew up in a mixed religion family with plenty of spats about it.

One thing that came up quite often was how if someone had not been baptised in a certain religion they would not be admitted to the afterlife and might even go to Hell.

I can never believe that if there is a God he would condemn an innocent who had not subscribed to the correct belief.

Posted by: Crucifix on 3rd Mar 2009 at 09:18PM

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