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Changing the world
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Ok, my response is finished and sent. 
3rd-Dec-2008 10:52 pm
In regards to Kim Pilkington's letter on Dec. 2 "Clear View of Scripture through Belief":

Let me preface this response by saying that I agree with folks on the message boards that the News-Leader editorial page is probably not the best place to conduct discussions on theology. However, since that is where this discussion started...

I'm not quite sure where to start replying to you; even a cursory glance of your response shows that you misunderstood and woefully misinterpreted what I was saying in my Nov. 29th letter.

Let's start with a place where we agree. All people are children of G-d. The difference here is you seem to suggest only those who follow the teachings of Christ are Children of G-d, rather than all of G-d's creations being G-d's children. If G-d created one thing, G-d created all things. Or as the Declaration of Independence states rather nicely, "all men are created equal".

Now then, by far the biggest issue I had with your response was you stating your personal views with a "We" in front of them. While I'd like to believe you were using the "royal we", I was left with the impression that you presume to speak on behalf of all practitioners of Christianity. Which I'm fairly certain you don't. A quick glance through the on-line comments to your letter disproves that notion.

In your letter you equate judgment with mercy and condemnation with forgiveness. While I'm sure that the government portrayed in in George Orwell's 1984 would be proud of that assessment, they are all four very distinct and separate concepts. It is your right to believe as you want. However, it is not your place to judge me, my faith, or my relationship with G-d.

You presume that I see myself as "a little G-d". I assure you that this is not the case. I do, however, see myself as an entity deserving of respect; the same respect I give to others, regardless of whether or not I agree with their beliefs and faith or lack thereof.

You say "[I] interpret to please myself" while "we seek the Truth". I say seeking the truth means finding my own meaning in what I read rather than regurgitating someone else's take on a text. In fact, I believe that was one of Martin Luther's biggest ideas with the Reformation. By publishing Holy Writ in the vernacular, he allowed everyone to read scripture and find the answers for themselves.

You claim at the end of your letter not to be judging me. However, after reading everything that precedes that statement, I respectfully disagree. It seems quite a bit like judgment to question the beliefs you assume I carry without stopping to think about a single word I said.

Had you read a bit closer, you would have seen that what I was really suggesting was not rushing to judgment about other people based on personal prejudices. Just because someone doesn't believe exactly the way you choose to does not make them a bad person. It's by expanding our horizons and challenging ourselves and our beliefs that we grow both as humans and as children of the divine.

Edit: After re-reading this, does it really sound like I swallowed a thesaurus?
4th-Dec-2008 01:46 pm (UTC)
No, doesn't sound to me like you swallowed a Thesaurus. Sounds to me well-reasoned, politely and assertively expressed, and again an excellent piece of writing.

And then there's the fact that I absolutely agree with what you say! :)
4th-Dec-2008 04:00 pm (UTC)
Hopefully they decide to run it. Although Iwill admit to being amused with myself for getting myself involved in this dialogue.
4th-Dec-2008 01:53 pm (UTC)
Hallelujah! :D

After re-reading this, does it really sound like I swallowed a thesaurus?

Not at all...you sound very concise and clear.

smackdown of a facist xtian idiot

4th-Dec-2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
I can't remember why I started that tag, but I gad a good reason at the time:)
4th-Dec-2008 03:47 pm (UTC)
And some advice from the Dalai Lama from my iGoogle page today:

"I believe that whether a person follows any religion or not is unimportant, he must have a good heart, a warm heart. This is essential for a happy life, which is much more important than Buddhahood."

4th-Dec-2008 03:53 pm (UTC)
I quite agree with him there.
4th-Dec-2008 06:41 pm (UTC) - Because I seem to have adopted the role of Devil's Advocate.
It's good to keep in mind, however, that any particular individual interpretation will not necessarily be the correct interpretation, or even a valid interpretation. It is just a particular interpretation.

Unless of course you believe all it requires is being "right for me," a chain of reasoning which ultimately finds itself stuck in a morass of equality of meaninglessness.

5th-Dec-2008 12:59 am (UTC) - Re: Because I seem to have adopted the role of Devil's Advocate.
Devil's Advocate is cool. Much better than obvious trolling.

See, the overwhelming problem I've been having with all of this is one of the things I took woth me after reading the Bhaghavad-Gita back in high school that's followed my path through life since. There's a line in there where they talk about the Gods of the pantheon being but one God, wearing masks to play the roles of the other Gods.

Which to me has always suggested that God speaks to different people in different ways.

And then I have to ask myself why I'm debating christian theology with people when I haven't considered myself Christian in about 15 years now. And I guess it comes down to the idea of not liking what I used to believe being attacked. Only I'm allowed to make fun of it, I guess.

Or maybe it's all just a game I'm playing for entertainment value.
5th-Dec-2008 06:50 am (UTC)
James, I think it's fine. It's nicely organized. All I ever do is end up ranting about things. haha... I need to relearn how to write an essay. But using words does not mean you are abusing them. It's very well written.
5th-Dec-2008 03:21 pm (UTC)
Thank you. I hope the paper decides to publish this one as well. Not that I think Kim will listen, but because I doubt seh read the on line responses to her letter.
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