Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Two Wrongs Don't Make A Right...

I read today that a pastor by the name of Pastor Terry Jones in Gainsville, Florida, wants to burn copies of the Koran on September 11th. What the Sam Hill...? Is he insane?  This is a good example of why I am suspicious of all religions.  Well, perhaps suspicious is not the right word.  Perhaps the word is wary, or maybe mistrustful.  Have you ever seen any organizations who are more at war with each other -- constantly -- than religious organizations?  At best they have a cautious and uncertain truce with each other, and at worst they are in outright warring hostilities.  And the histories of their hostilities go back to the beginning of their religious beliefs.

"My belief is the right one."

"No, mine is."

"You're an infidel."

"You're a heathen and a sinner."

They're like a bunch of kids in kindergarten. Good God, give it up already.  Religious belief is a matter of faith, and I believe it should be personal.   Nothing stirs the emotions quite the way religion or politics seem to do.  Folks' religions are sacred and sacrosanct to them, in more ways than just the obvious.  Take a look at the symbols in the wheel in this picture.  We can each pick out the symbol that is sacred to us.  The rest are just drawings with no emotional attachment to them whatsoever.  But to most of us, at least one of those symbols is holy. However, for anyone to violate any one of these symbols is unholy -- in every sense of the word.

People cannot promote peace by committing acts of aggression or provocation.  Haven't we seen enough of that already?  It's time to put the brakes on -- on all sides -- and that includes the construction of buildings that are considered by a great many people to be provocative. I don't wish to offend religious folks by stating that I personally don't care for organized religion, but I don't.  Spirituality is a whole other matter, however, and often religion and spirituality are at opposite ends of the spectrum.  It is my belief that people can be spiritual without belonging to an organized religion, because often when you get groups of people together, you get an "us" or "them" mentality.  Human beings are, by nature, extremely competitive.

I read the following today:  "The threatened burning of copies of the Holy Koran this Saturday is a particularly egregious offense that demands the strongest possible condemnation by all who value civility in public life and seek to honor the sacred memory of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11," said a statement by religious leaders organized by the Islamic Society of North America.

Burning the Koran is not going to do anything except hurt and provoke the folks who consider it a Holy book, and rightly so.  So then what happens next?  Where does it stop?  Pastor Terry Jones needs to pay attention, because all he is really doing is adding flames to the fire ... so to speak.

29 comments:

Cloudia said...

You have well expressed the truth of this mess.

I humbly offer my similar post from last week as another "testimony."

As an old minister once told me:

"You preach down one side of the street, and I'll do the other."


Glad to know you, Jo!

Kevin said...

It is sad that people are giving this pastor some sort of media attention. I had read that he was busted earlier last month for child pornography, although I haven't heard much since...

The hypocrisy, ignorance, and hatred is disgusting...

Indian Pundit said...

Absolutely right Jo.

Agreed completely.

heartinsanfrancisco said...

What this so-called "minister" is doing in the name of religion is provoking those whose deeds he protests to commit more violence. I feel as you do about organized religions because their competitiveness is counter productive, and fundamentalists of any stripe are really all the same.

Kathryn said...

I do believe that the religion i follow is right, but it makes me sad, sad, sad when people claiming the same religion do these things.

I believe Jesus called us to love one another & that includes the ones we think are "wrong." So many folks who call themselves Christians do so many things i consider evil, & it has been that way for hundreds of years.

I don't believe that this is what we are to present as Christ followers. I'm sad this is happening.

lgsquirrel said...

I would never be ashamed of Jesus but I am frequently ashamed of some among those who claim to be his followers. There is severe persecution of Christians going on in the world by some who claim to be Muslim. They are wrong to do this and the world should speak out against that. Likewise however, we should not do the same evil. Jesus taught us by His example to love our enemies and to turn the other cheek. Burning the Qu'ran is totally wrong, irresponsible and lacking in love.

June said...

Hallelujah and Amen, Jo!

Single and Sane said...

In answer to your first question, yes, he is insane. While I shy away from declaring whether someone who says they're a Christian actually is or not, I don't the Jesus that Rev. Jones claims to follow.

Margaret

DJan said...

I abandoned organized religion years ago but have never abandoned my Christian beliefs. Whatever happened to the idea of religious tolerance that our country was supposedly based on? I know you live in Canada where the citizens seem to know how to be polite to one another. Because of pastors like this Jones guy, I don't usually tell people I'm a Christian because they give it a bad name.

Katy said...

I don't blame you for not liking organized religion. When people put themselves in a place where they clam to speak for God only bad things can happen.

Still, I will say that the great evil in humanity isn't religion itself, but people's claims to Truth and the power that goes with that. The idea that there has to be one Truth that trumps everything is what gets us in so much danger... "My God is the ONLY God.." or "Democracy is the ONLY way to run a country"... both statements carry the same sense of Truth and both have shown us the same deadly wars they lead to.

If we can get past our need to be True and Right all the time... we will be much better off.

As for the Quran burning, I think its an extension of the anti-Muslim rhetoric that we have been hearing when it comes to the ground zero community center. The idea that "yes we have freedom of religion, but Islam doesn't count..." has taken its ride down that preverbal slippery slope.

Linda said...

Jo, I made those exact same statements this morning to my niece. I think the 'radicals' of each belief needs to take a step back and a deep breath, and during that time, the media needs to cover the news.
This is not news!

I am a born-again Christian, and I love my Savior, but if you, as in the collective 'you' don't want that, that is your decision.

Charlene said...

Excellent essay on the subject.

I saw this so called minister on the national news last night. His own "flock" is leaving him and when asked if there wasn't anything that could be done to get him not to do this he said [paraphrasing here] if God asked him to not do it, he wouldn't. So expect a "voice of God" revelation. I just hope the thing is settled before those Westboro nut jobs come join him.

Jo said...

Cloudia, yes, we all have to walk our own path, don't we? Organized religion has too many rules, and is often separate and apart from spirituality. And, I'm glad to know you too. :-)

Kevin, this pastor is even the headline news here in Canada. I agree, the whole idea of what he wants to do is repugnant.

IP, thank you. :-)

Susan, yes, I believe this pastor is deliberately trying to provoke people and cause more trouble. He needs to be stopped.

Kathryn, yes, unfortunately Christians have been guilty of some fairly heinous acts throughout the ages too, and that makes me sad because I was raised a Christian. I don't know what the answer is.

Calvin, you are so right. Christians are being persecuted right now, but in the name of "political correctness" people are unable to speak out about it. It puzzles me.

June, *heh* Thank you.

Margaret, it's radicals like this pastor who give religion a bad name, no matter what the religion. He should be ashamed of himself.

DJan, I am like you. I abandoned organized religion, but it doesn't mean I have not retained my beliefs. I just feel it is something that should be private.

Katy, the problem with relgion, I think, is that there are too many disparate beliefs, and everyone thinks their is "right". But, I don't believe any one religion is necessarily "the good guy" in this situation. Horrible things have been done on both sides. It's just an ongoing battle.

Linda, I think there are lots of folks who have the same beliefs that you do, but prefer perhaps to keep it personal. It's when relgions start doing battle with each other that the trouble starts. I don't know what the answer is...

Charlene, gosh, I had no idea his flock was leaving him. I think he should just be put out to pasture -- permanently. :-)

The Bug said...

I'm just going to copy June: Hallelujah and Amen, Jo!

Jo said...

Dana, thanks. :-)

Sam Liu said...

I think you know my opinion on organised religion, and I am not ashamed to say that I think the world would be a better a place if there was no such thing. Pastor Terry Jones will only succeed in exacerbating the situation, and potentially, he will put people's lives in danger. Burning the Koran is a ridiculous, disrespectful, illogical and insane idea. It makes me sick, it really does...that even today, in the modern world, organised religion still wields so much power and causes so much pain.

Kathy's Klothesline said...

This is why I don't belong to a church. Those who call themselves Christians can sometimes become very smug and sure that their way is the right and only way........

Carla said...

Amen! Jo, I could not agree with you more. When I walked away from the Catholic Church, I walked away from organized religion forever. Yet, most of my relatives and friends are church members and I do respect that.

I don't understand why some people think that being a Muslim is the same as being a terrorist. And I'm worried that this bigoted Florida pastor is about to do something stupid that will have violent consequences.

A.M. said...

I'm a Christian and I have no idea what that pastor is trying to pull off, but the Bible states:

KJV Matthew 7:15
15. Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

This could be the situation here. Look what he is doing to you, and further more, look what he is doing to non-Christians. Moving you further and further away from God. I was once told that if it doesn't produce good, look good, or sound good...then most of the time it isn't good.

Sorry to go off, but I'm sad about this.

Marguerite said...

You are so right, Jo! It's ignorance, plain and simple! That guy is a total lunatic and I shudder to think of the consequences of what he is planning to do. Wish that people could just learn to live and let live.

Brenda said...

These headlines are disturbing as are all headlines that leads others to believe that organized religions or just religious people in general are ALL kooks or evil. I happen to believe that you can be spiritual, religious AND a member of an organized religion and not be a person who wishes ill will towards anyone. I find tremendous peace with my spirituality and attending church. I don't take offense to anyone's beliefs or opinion or feelings, as long as they do not hurt anyone else. As a Catholic, I get more than my share of criticism about my church, even before the priests abuse scandal came out. We are all humans and make terrible mistakes sometimes. As a Christian I believe in forgiveness, even though it is very difficult to forgive sometimes. I just have to speak my mind here and say that not everyone in every religion is out to get the other one. Some may...but certainly not the majority.

@ly said...

I do not understand how you can consider yourself such a holy person (Pastor) when what you are doing is not holy at all. Once again...why can't we all just get along?

Whitney Lee said...

Well said. After I read an article about this last night I turned to my husband and said, "This is my problem with organized religion."

Where are the Beatles when you need them? "All you need is love..."

budh.aaah said...

I dont know why people who are in a position of power ( who hold power over thousands of gullible minds) dont use it constructively..

Pauline said...

If only we would all fight nice!

Paula Slade said...

I cringe at some of today's headlines and acts of hate justified in the name of religion, race or political beliefs. It always brings to mind a brief speech uttered by Rodney King, the man who was the flash point of the Los Angles riots in 1992.

King said, "People, I just want to say, you know, can we all get along? Can we get along? Can we stop making it, making it horrible for the older people and the kids?...It’s just not right. It’s not right. It’s not, it’s not going to change anything. We’ll, we’ll get our justice....Please, we can get along here. We all can get along. I mean, we’re all stuck here for a while. Let’s try to work it out. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to beat it. Let’s try to work it out."

His words mean more today than ever before.

Wolynski said...

Burning a book is not the issue here, but the fact that this is even a news story is.

The media have taken a non-story and blown it out of proportion. If they had ignored this crackpot, we wouldn't even be discussing this.

Barb said...

Wolynski ~ I posed this very thing to my daughter who is a journalist and teaches journalism in ~ Gainesville, FL of all places. First of all, what he is doing is wrong ~ no if ands or buts.
Unfortunately in Gainesville, which is a small town, this is big news so of course, the small town paper will report this...which makes the bigger papers irresponsible if they don't pick it up and report it as well. Besides in this day of internet news, this pastor was going to get his message out one way or another.

Mia said...

This post fits well in the us versus them category.