A friend on Facebook posted that he was glad the White House still called the tree that was erected this week a “Christmas Tree”. Chaos ensued as atheists attacked Christians, Muslims were called out as terrorists, liberals and conservatives were vilified, and, as all Internet comment threads will eventually lead to (see “Godwin’s Law”), Adolf Hitler’s name was invoked. Here are my two cents, for your amusement and consideration:
I have spent my entire life developing my sense of self, beliefs, and morality. I carry these things with me and they are the foundation of every decision I make, every word I say, everything I do. I do not need to be reminded of them every week on Sunday, I do not need to read them in a book, and I do not need to ask for forgiveness when I fail to adhere to them, because the only person I have failed is myself.
Someone once told me he assumed I was religious because of the wonder and beauty I see in sunsets. I told him that as an atheist I see sunsets as naturally occuring phenomena, so with my explanation they just happen to be breathtakingly awesome, whereas with his they’re expected to be.
Last week, Newt Gingrich was interviewed on the Christian Broadcasting Network after announcing his forming of a committee to consider a presidential run in 2012. In it, he made the following comment:
In a sense, our Judeo-Christian civilization is under attack from two fronts. On one front, you have a secular, atheist, elitism. And on the other front, you have radical Islamists. And both groups would like to eliminate our civilization if they could. For different reasons, but with equal passion. (From an Interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network, 9 March 2011)
For a man doing an interview with CBN in an attempt to clarify his indiscretions, Newt Gingrich seems to be attacking Judeo-Christian values just fine on his own. That aside, he is intent on being forgiven for his inappropriate actions by Evangelical Christians whose support he would need in a successful bid for the presidency in 2012. I would venture to say that someone who would break his own sacred vows and then expect immediate forgiveness not only for his actions but for his soul is exactly the kind of person we don’t need running the country right now. Can a man be trusted who claims to follow a particular faith, and upon his failure expects all to be forgiven without understanding? If he can’t do it in his marriage, I struggle to see how he’d be able to do it with any less sacred a bond. I’d much prefer someone who has a demonstrated history of living by the rules he has sworn to uphold.
Yesterday, I happened across the same quote posted by a friend on Facebook. As the particular quote struck a nerve with me, I posted a comment on the quote, which resulted in a discussion. The discussion was between myself and another commenter, not my friend who made the original post. Here’s how it played out, and I’d love to hear your comments.
Originally posted July 16, 2009
OK, so I have a problem. I was thinking about something that sort of bothered me: the contradictions I remembered that initially turned me from the church. So, after several years, I decided to take a more mature approach, and do some quick reading. This isn’t full research, mostly because I haven’t got the time and get far too frustrated, but I post it here as food for thought, and I’d like some clarification or even comments.
Here’s what started it all: I was watching some video produced by the Family Research Council to make the point that hate crimes legislation that would specifically include crimes against gays would inherently criminalize religious leaders who preach that homosexuality is a sin. Basically, the argument is that if a preacher says homosexuality is a sin, he could be prosecuted for hate speech.