Religion in an Age of Balance

Welcome to the Tuesday guest blog. Every Tuesday "On Balance" features the views of a guest writer. It could be your neighbor, your boss, your most loved or hated poster from the blog, or you! Send me your original, unpublished entry (300 words or fewer) for consideration. Obviously, the topic should be something related to balancing your life.

By Lucinda Brown

Religion is the framework of my life. My faith reminds me that I am not alone in the world, that I am part of a larger community to which I am responsible and from which I can draw strength, and that I can find hope in the face of whatever adversities life brings. These basic assurances, woven into the fabric of my life, have been invaluable as I've moved into new communities, faced unexpected health crises and dealt with the deaths of people near and dear to me.

The same thing holds true for children. We all need to know that we are not alone and that we are loved. In our increasingly mobile society, when children find themselves uprooted from one community and moved on to the next, sometimes living miles away from extended family and childhood friends, being grounded in a particular religious tradition can provide the familiarity that children need in order to embrace the changes in their lives fully and fruitfully.

I was raised in a church-going family. It should come as no surprise that I grew up learning the stories of my faith. I always assumed that everyone else knew the stories I knew. Imagine my surprise when a co-worker admitted that she had no idea what the Exodus was. The work of Stephen Prothero, author of "Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know - And Doesn't", confirms my experience, "Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions, yet only half of American adults can name even one of the four gospels and most Americans cannot name the first book of the Bible."

For parents who wonder how to introduce religion to their children, I'd like to offer a bold suggestion. Sit down with your children and read the sacred writings of your religion with them. Whenever possible, read more than one translation. For those interested in reading the Christian scriptures, I recommend starting with the New Revised Standard Version, the New King James Version, or the New International Version. The Jewish Publication Society's version of Tanakh is a good resource for anyone interested in reading the Hebrew scriptures.

Given the opportunity, kids will get into the reading -- especially if they are invited to be part of it. As we celebrated Palm Sunday at a local church, for example, five-year-old AJ shouted out "Hosanna!" every time it occurred in the gospel reading. Sound effects help, too. When we taught a group of toddlers at church the story of King David and his humble beginnings as a shepherd, letting the kids baa like sheep engaged them in ways that simply reading the story wouldn't have. You can definitely try this at home!

Finding ways to put the reading into action helps kids connect with the meaning of the text. Read the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33) and then bake bread -- and voila! You have an experiential, as well as an intellectual, lesson on your hands. Any of the readings having to do with showing kindness, doing justice, or otherwise helping others can easily be linked with collecting money for The Heifer Project or other charity of choice. The possibilities are endless!

The children in our lives will decide for themselves someday whether they want to be practicing Jews or Christians, adherents of another of the world's religions, or follow no religion at all. Finding their own "balance" will be up to them. Knowing the stories of the world's religious traditions, however, will stand them in good stead no matter which choice they make.

A regular lurker at On Balance, Lucinda Brown earned her Masters of Divinity at Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C. She currently lives in Wilmington, Del., and works in Center City Philadelphia.

By Leslie Morgan Steiner |  April 10, 2007; 7:00 AM ET  | Category:  Guest Blogs
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Comments

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I have mixed feelings about this topic. One the one hand, organized religion does provide a sense of community to many, on the other, I can't help but think how religion really divides people. Some of the problems with the country today can be traced to religion (e.g. George Bush and his "I'm a conservative Christian" garbage and his pandering to the religous right, those who would impose school prayer on us all, school vouchers--totally to promote religious based education, "faith-based" offices in the Federal government, banning funding for stemcells, limiting abortion rights, etc).

Religious beliefs are personal and if kept that way can be ok and offers the benefits the author of this blog expouses. It's the dark side of "my religion is better than yours so I'll kill you if you don't believe" attitude (crusades, middle east, anti-abortionists, etc).

Posted by: anon today (the original) | April 10, 2007 7:23 AM

I wonder how many children are not being exposed to religion because of intrafaith marriages? My religious education didn't come in earnest until my parents found a church they both felt comfortable with... I was in junior high by then.

Posted by: Product of a Working Mother | April 10, 2007 7:31 AM

It took one post to bash conservatives and religious people as intolerant. That must be a record! Congratualtions Anon for Today.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 7:48 AM

All Cristians, please have your children baptized and teach them the tools of your faith. I know so many parents that say they will let their kids choose what religion they want when they get old enough, but this doesn't make any more sense to me than a parent saying that they will let their kid decide if they want to go to school or not.

Posted by: Responsible Christian | April 10, 2007 7:52 AM

Both my wife and I experienced so much hypocrisy in the name of religion as we were growing up that we've both avoided structured religious organizations since. When we have a child, however, we may look for a more tolerant and inclusive religion that fits our life views; some here have mentioned the UU faith being very inclusive, and we may consider them.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 7:55 AM

"I always assumed that everyone else knew the stories I knew. Imagine my surprise when a co-worker when a co-worker admitted that she had no idea what the Exodus was."

I know many, many church going people who have no idea what the Exodus was.

Did they forget/lose interest/lack faith in the Bible stories of their youth?

Posted by: top cat | April 10, 2007 7:58 AM

"All Cristians, please have your children baptized and teach them the tools of your faith. "

My Christian faith does not baptize children. We believe in adult baptism only.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:00 AM

Don't hear you saying anything bad about Jews or Muslins

Posted by: to: Posted by: anon today (the original) | April 10, 2007 07:23 AM | April 10, 2007 8:07 AM

To the 8:07am poster, Anon for Today did say "It's the dark side of "my religion is better than yours so I'll kill you if you don't believe" attitude (crusades, middle east, anti-abortionists, etc)."

To me, this includes the radical Muslims.

Posted by: Not Anon | April 10, 2007 8:09 AM

I agree with "anon today." Religion to me is a very private thing that should not be forced on other people. Although my children will be raised Catholic, we will certainly teach them to keep an open-mind and not blindly follow the Catholic church, which thinks that women were put on this earth only to bear children and be housewives. This self-proclaimed "born again Christian" who we have running this country into the ground has not done anything that Jesus or God would approve of. If anything, he has shown us how intolerant and narrow-minded he and his "Christian followers" really are.

Posted by: also anon for today | April 10, 2007 8:13 AM

In my opinion,brainwashing children to believe in superstitious nonsense contained in the koran, the bible or the torah is child abuse.

Posted by: rationalist | April 10, 2007 8:13 AM

Rationalist, you have a stupid opinion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:16 AM

This is one I imagine I would have struggled with & truthfully it is one reason I am happy I never married. I was brought up in a Catholic household and am very close to my parents. I can't imagine how much it would hurt them to have a grandchild not raised Catholic. I am still a practicing Catholic, but do not have enough faith to honestly pass on a religious tradition to another generation.

I am not in the 2/3 "Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions, yet..." I can name the four gospels & the first five books of the
bible. It is one thing to have some factual knowledge about religion and another to have faith. I am guessing that many people who lack the latter have the former.

Posted by: struggle | April 10, 2007 8:19 AM

"For parents who wonder how to introduce religion to their children, I'd like to offer a bold suggestion. Sit down with your children and read the sacred writings of your religion with them."

This worked very well for us - though probably not in the way you meant. We introduced our children to myths and fables fairly early -- with boys The Odyessy is still the greatest action/adventure story ever told. After Greek/Roman, we made sure they had a good foundation of Norse -- and then some of the Eastern mythologies. By the time they moved to the Christian mythology, they were able to grasp the difference between 'real' and 'make-believe' and compare and contrast.

It all starts with the Greeks...

Posted by: Good stories | April 10, 2007 8:21 AM

"Although my children will be raised Catholic,
we will certainly teach them to keep an open-mind and not blindly follow the Catholic church, which thinks that women were put on this earth only to bear
children and be housewives."

Before you try to teach your kids anything about the Catholic faith, I suggest you learn a little about it yourself. The Catholic church certainly does not teach that the only purpose for women is to bear children and be a housewife.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:21 AM

"Rationalist, you have a stupid opinion."

Opinions are like farts.

Everybody thinks others stink but their own are great.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:22 AM

I was raised Catholic, married an agnostic, and I'm pretty sure I don't believe that Jesus was the son of God. So that eliminates a lot of options for me and my family. However, we really like the Unitarian church in our area. The people are very non-judgmental and just GOOD people.

I've had interviews with a couple of vendors in the past month whose business cards had bible verses on them. I was flabbergasted when I saw the first, but being a true Yankee at heart, said nothing (though I thought a LOT). Has anyone else had this experience? Maybe it's a Southern thing, but I felt like someone had just handed me their diary and asked me to read it or something.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 10, 2007 8:23 AM

Boy, there are going to be some nasty posts today (already have been). I'm sort of glad I'm tied up in meetings most of the day and won't be able to read/participate.

The one recommendation I have is that if you have a faith and you want to teach it to your children effectively, then do your best to live it. Teach by doing, not just reading.

I'm a Catholic, although as a genuine "mutt" my ancestry includes various Protestant denominations (Dad was a Baptist; his two sisters were Methodist). My father's mother was a Native American (Cree) who didn't practice a Christian religion; his father was a non-practicing French-Canadian Catholic. Mom's side is somewhat similar, but probably more Lutherans and Catholics than anything else, with two or three Jewish ancestors if you go back enough generations.

Growing up, my parents took me to church off and on until I was about 12 (they raised me Catholic, but there weren't always Catholic chaplains on the various military posts), then left it to me. But they did do their best to show me the "right way to live" regardless of religion - justice, charity, kindness, etc. And they demonstrated their own personal intolerance for hypocrisy - one of the things my father hated most was our neighbors in Mississippi in 1968/69, who would go burn a cross on somebody's yard on Saturday night, then go to church and Sunday morning and brag about how holy they were and how they were destined for heaven, for sure. (Several of the families engaged in these activities were the same ones who raged about the evils of alcohol and how sinful it was, then told their kids that the bottle of whiskey was "medicine". The kids may have believed them, but as the son of an Army NCO I knew even then what a whiskey bottle looked like. :-)

Bottom line - while we all fail sometimes (yes, even the atheists fail:-) don't just teach your kids about religion, try to live it too if you really want them to learn.

Posted by: Army Brat | April 10, 2007 8:24 AM

oh yes, the Catholics also teach women to be subservient to their husbands, to not use birth control, and to not live "in sin" before marriage.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:25 AM

"The Catholic church certainly does not teach that the only purpose for women is to bear children and be a housewife."

Absolutely right -- the poster completely forgot that women can be nuns too...

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:27 AM

I was raised by a mostly catholic family and a protestant mother. I sometimes went to church with my aunts and feel comfortable in either church most of the time. Unless, someone gets on a political cause and then I feel like hiding under the pew.

For me, I think that family is what holds kids together during tough times and that you can believe in God without going to church. My mom only recently went back to church and I doubt my dad has been there since he was baptized. Both of my parents are good people and don't need to sit in a pew to prove that.

The most I ever went to church in my life is when I lived in Utah and was in the minority.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 8:30 AM

One other thing to add -- when I was 11-14, I was very active in a Christian youth group out of a church that was not Catholic. My parents didn't care about the religious aspect and were just glad that I had good friends to go do things with where they could be reasonably sure nothing out of control was happening. I had a Catholic friend who really wanted to go with me to the Youth Group meetings, but her parents said "no" because it wasn't at a Catholic church. I think she really missed out. She wants nothing to do with the church anymore, that's for certain.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 10, 2007 8:31 AM

"Although my children will be raised Catholic,
we will certainly teach them to keep an open-mind and not blindly follow the Catholic church, which thinks that women were put on this earth only to bear
children and be housewives."

Before you try to teach your kids anything about the Catholic faith, I suggest you learn a little about it yourself. The Catholic church certainly does not teach that the only purpose for women is to bear children and be a housewife.

------------------------------------

But they do teach that those who use birth control other than the rhythm method should not receive communion.

... somehow I do not think that everyone in the church I attended was following this rule on Easter...

The church was also a bit more crowded than the normal & I have a feeling that a few who had skipped a previous mass attended communion without attending confession.

The language in the initial post was inflammatory - but I think more people than not should be honest they are living lives of partial-obedience (and this is the tradition they are passing on).


Posted by: ... but ... | April 10, 2007 8:31 AM

"Absolutely right -- the poster completely forgot that women can be nuns too..."

It is also perfectly acceptable for a woman to choose to be single too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 8:33 AM

Bashing something you don't understand or know about shows ignorance. Most people who grow up Catholic - and those that didn't - think they know so much about what the religion teaches. Go ask a younger-generation priest today and he'll clear a lot of issues up for you. Or, continue to pretend you know what you're talking about and just look stupid.

Posted by: Reformed Catholic School Girl | April 10, 2007 8:33 AM

For "good stories"- we did that too! I thought we were the only ones. My husband and I are not religious but I wanted to expose my 5-year old to religion so we started with the Greeks... we then moved on to the Norse myths, and then the Hebrew and Christian stories. (yes, I think of them as stories) My son is now quite the little theologian who comes up with all kinds of questions (would Zeus beat Odin in a fight?)

Posted by: randommom | April 10, 2007 8:34 AM

Great, Leslie!

Giving a pulpit to a professional peacher! What, Ms. Lucinda desn't have other outlets to procelytize? To a person who asked why "anon" did not criticize Jews or Muslims: some Jews are free-thinking, some are worse (much worse) than even Christian fundametalists in their intolerance. Saving grace, they are suposed to be intolerant only to their brethen, unlike Christian fundamentalists. But God (whatever God) help you if you marrying into such family, then you are "one of us". Muslims don't have such powerful voice in this country compared to Christian and Jewish fundamentalists. Neither do Buddhists and Hindus, so don't worry about them.

Posted by: Lynn | April 10, 2007 8:35 AM

Just watch that movie camp jesus! Those people are freaks, and the camp leader brainwashed the children.

I wouldn't affirm Rationalist's words 100%, but it's pretty messed up to teach children to believe in the otherworldly with such vigor.

Posted by: F00 | April 10, 2007 8:36 AM

But they do teach that those who use birth control other than the rhythm method should not receive communion.

This statement was issued within the past year - please be a bit more specific about what we are all getting wrong.

Posted by: to Reformed CSG | April 10, 2007 8:40 AM

I hadn't intended to jump into the fray quite this early in the day, but Good stories' comment caught my attention. Your family's experience sounds remarkably like mine! My brother and I were introduced to the Greek myths as children, too, both at home and at school, and we too were taught from an early age to read and think critically.

One of my father's most telling admissions came following a trip to Egypt. A fellow church member approached my dad and mentioned the Egyptian story of Isis and Osiris. "Sounds remarkably similar to the story of the death and resurrection of Christ, doesn't it?" the other church member observed. "What do you make of it?" My dad got real quiet, then whispered conspiratorially, "I think the Egyptians thought of it first!" The other church member winked at him and replied, "So do I!"

My dad and I both have a great deal of respect for the Christian tradition in which we were raised, but biblical literalists we are not. In fact, my insights into what the Bible means started to grow exponentially once I realized I didn't need to read it literally.

Posted by: Lucinda Brown | April 10, 2007 8:49 AM

"My son is now quite the little theologian who comes up with all kinds of questions (would Zeus beat Odin in a fight?)"

If your kids are still in elementary school [4-5th grade] I would highly recommend the Myth-O-Mania series by Kate McMullan -- they have been a blast.

Posted by: Good stories | April 10, 2007 8:51 AM

Being jewish, I don't know anything about the gospels. I don't think this is so horrible. We sent our oldest to a jewish preschool-and will be sending the youngest as well. We go often to our synagogue- for dinners, services, programs for the kids. Each week on friday night, we have a shabbat dinner. We try to weave our religion into our everyday lives-it is a part of who we are.
It was a wonderful thing when we found a synagogue in spain and went to services and then were invited to someone's apt. For dinner. Doesn't happen as much, I believe in the christian church.

Our son is taking lunch to school today (and did yesterday) for passover, and he likes being a part of something.

As for vouchers, I personally think they are great-not everyone can be able to live in a district with a good school- how is that a good thing or fair . It is no different than the govt giving loans for college and having a student choose a college that is based in religion. This way, parents are choosing-not the govt, ie, not having a 'govt based religion'.

Posted by: atlmom | April 10, 2007 8:57 AM

Maybe it's because I'm not religious, but I'm not getting the "balance" connection in today's column. In fact, as I started to read it, I scrolled up to make sure I hadn't accidentally clicked on the Parenting blog.

Oh, and randommom, this comment totally makes my day: "My son is now quite the little theologian who comes up with all kinds of questions (would Zeus beat Odin in a fight?)"

For parents who want to expose their kids to a bunch of different religions, I highly recommend the kids' book "Laura Upside-Down" (can't remember the author). It was very helpful and meaningful for me when I was a kid and trying to figure out what I believed in.

Posted by: randommom | April 10, 2007 08:34 AM

Posted by: NY Lurker | April 10, 2007 9:00 AM

Good stories, I really like your idea. This is a topic that my husband & I struggle with, as we are an interfaith couple (Jewish/Presbyterian) but neither one of us is particularly religious or even attends services. However, I do feel it is important for children to be brought up with knowledge of religion.

My family did not start going to church until I was in 8th grade, and only then because I insisted. I do feel I missed something by not being brought up familiar with the biblical stories. I know Greek & Egyptian myths better than the Old/New Testaments because they were taught to me in school.

So this seems like a wonderful approach to make sure that children grow up with religious knowledge without us having to practice something we don't fully believe.

Posted by: Carifly | April 10, 2007 9:04 AM

"So this seems like a wonderful approach to make sure that children grow up with religious knowledge without us having to practice something we don't fully believe."

What is the point of this if there is no faith? Why teach the biblical stories rather than any other religious knowledge?

Posted by: top cat | April 10, 2007 9:10 AM

It was a wonderful thing when we found a synagogue in spain and went to services and then were invited to someone's apt. For dinner. Doesn't happen as much, I believe in the christian church.

Maybe it just doesn't happen as much in America because people are afraid to go to strangers houses.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 9:11 AM

Well, I clicked the comments button with complete anticipation that it would take a lot of courage to go against the grain and disagree wholeheartedly with the author.

What a surprise! For once, I seem to be with the majority. To be a little brutal, I cannot for the life of me understand how any intelligent person with an ounce of interest in current affairs, or history for that matter, wouldn't see religion for the blight to humanity that it is.

That said, I feel it is imperative to teach children everything about religion, that they be wary of those who promote it.

Posted by: Dave | April 10, 2007 9:15 AM

Here's a question. How are those of us who want to supposed to raise children of (Christian) faith in this hyperactively secular world? Where atheists act as if any expression of Christianity is an attack on the atheists. Where other religions are more accepted in the name of diversity but Christianity is pushed to the curb in a familiarity breeds contempt way. Fine, separation of church and state but when kids are practically expelled from public schools for even mentioning the name of God, it's kind of scary. Where's the religious freedom in that?

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:16 AM

I'm with scarry. Religion for me is not institutionalized.

I went to Catholic school through high school. I know all about the bible. I was also an alter server. It was great to have that structure as a kid because we did move around a lot. It was nice to have one place that was always familiar (the church).

But as I've gotten older, I've balanced my view of religion. I disagree with some of the aspects of institutionalized religion. So I worship in my own way. I am more spiritual now than I ever was while I was attending church.

I think it is important for kids to learn about all religions so there's no mystery or misunderstanding. My Catholic school did a great job of exposing us to all religions. If you can do that and touch on the common fundamental points (the golden rule, living a worthy life, etc.), then I think you've done a good job.

Posted by: Meesh | April 10, 2007 9:17 AM

My parents were not the same religion, though they were both Christian (Catholic/Protestant), but I went to a parochial school (Lutheran) and attended Catholic church, and I agree that it provided me with a sense of community and continuity. When I was about 13 I decided I didn't want to go to church and I didn't believe in God anymore, and my parents agreed I was old enough to make that decision. I came back to religion on my own when I hit a rough spot in my adult life, and was surprised by how much of a comfort it really can be. I ended up being glad it was something I knew enough about to turn back to, and even after having been gone for 15 or so years, was surprised at the acceptance. I'd like my kids to always have that option, so I'll start them off with it.

Posted by: CE | April 10, 2007 9:17 AM

Here's a question. How are those of us who want to supposed to raise children of (Christian) faith in this hyperactively secular world? Where atheists act as if any expression of Christianity is an attack on the atheists. Where other religions are more accepted in the name of diversity but Christianity is pushed to the curb in a familiarity breeds contempt way. Fine, separation of church and state but when kids are practically expelled from public schools for even mentioning the name of God, it's kind of scary. Where's the religious freedom in that?

---------------------------------------
---------------------------------------

I disagree vehemently with your comments.

We live in a country where you cannot be taken seriously as a candidate for president unless you pass a religousness test. Our current president is a religious conservative. Go through the senate and the house - how many atheists do you see?

Did you read the intro "Nearly two-thirds of Americans believe that the Bible holds the answers to all or most of life's basic questions"

How in the world does this translate to you being in an oppressed minority?

Can you not turn off HBO? Certainly god is credited plenty on ESPN... and CSPAN...

Posted by: no way Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:21 AM

"What is the point of this if there is no faith? Why teach the biblical stories rather than any other religious knowledge?"

Because the Christian mythology is central to Western cultural traditions and literature, and it would be a challenge to be considered 'well-educated' in the West without a basic understanding of the Christian mythology.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:22 AM

Meesh

You may "know all about the Bible", but
you should know how to spell "altar" if you were an "altar server"!!

"I think it is important for kids to learn about all religions "

"My Catholic school did a great job of exposing us to all religions."

I find this impossible to believe and a little silly for you to have written.

Learning about ALL religions must have taken up a great deal of time...

Posted by: smurfette | April 10, 2007 9:26 AM

"How are those of us who want to supposed to raise children of (Christian) faith in this hyperactively secular world?"

Simple -- move to Earth where religion continues to be a dominant social force and rationalism is still a minority belief.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:26 AM

How can any intelligent person subscribe to the teachings of just one church, just one religion??? How can any intelligent person be so close minded to beleive that THEIR way is the only right way???

Just as those who vote solely based on Party ID, without listening to the issues and the candidates, is shutting themselves off from growth and learning- people who choose to just be Catholic, et al and be institutionalized are shutting themselves off from what it REALLY means to be a part of something larger than ourselves.

Take a minute to meditate, to look at the nature around us, the humanity of helping your community and being a loving parner and parent. We're all a part of this larger world- why pick factions??

Spirituality is a very personal and family oriented thing. i would never imagine placing myself in a neat little "protestant box" or "muslim", what have you... it's terribly unprogressive.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:27 AM

I'm atheist, my husband's an agnostic. We intend to teach our daughter that many people believe in different things, to help her discover what those things are if she's interested, and that people not understanding or tolerating each other can lead to conflict, wars and death, and a lot of misery, but most importantly we intend to teach her to treat others with respect, including their faiths, but to have the courage to question their beliefs and have the courage of her own convictions.

Posted by: DopeyTart | April 10, 2007 9:29 AM

"it would be a challenge to be considered 'well-educated' in the West without a basic understanding of the Christian mythology."

This will come as news to a great many people!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:29 AM

This type of crap makes me go red with rage. I was raised Catholic. I went to Catholic school for 10 years. At 17 I had a HUGE fight with my mother about my not wanting to go to church any more. I know all about the bible. I had it SHOVED down my throat every day for years. So of the most pious families in my parish were also some of the bigoted and small minded people I knew (the mother of one friend of mine refused to touch one of her grand children who was born out of wedlock because he as a "bastard"). So don't give me this BULLS!!T that religion somehow makes people & families better. My son has almost exposure to religion and my next child will have just as little exposure.

By the way, one of the nicest guys I ever knew was raised by atheists, and he's an atheist too.

Posted by: Blargh | April 10, 2007 9:29 AM

to the poster who thought it was scary that kids couldn't practice religion in schools- are you kidding??? If you want your kids to have a religious education- send them to a private RELIGIOUS school. I already think it's bad enough that we go on a christian holiday schedule for vacations and such (spring break??? yeah right, just happens to coincide with Easter. Winter Break??? Not during Hanukkah or Ramadan- but Christmas) The kids recite the Pledge. What else would you want?

Posted by: god in school | April 10, 2007 9:32 AM

"Top cat," in my opinion, the bible stories are parables. Parents can teach the bible stories so their kids can recite all the plagues OR parents can use the bible stories to teach the "big picture" lessons of Christianity. Like to treat all people with kindness, to find happiness outside of material things, to give to those who are less fortunate, etc. I think that most people will agree that those big picture lessons are less "religion" and more "morals" that all people should learn.

Kind of off topic, Heifer International (mentioned by the guest blogger) is a great organization. It's one of the top rated international charities. Please check it out!

Posted by: Meesh | April 10, 2007 9:33 AM

I didn't say Christians were an oppressed minority. But I do say there is an ongoing attack on Christianity. Atheists act as if they are open-minded and Christians are oppressive and religion is what causes all the world's problems. I object to this view. Sure, the world is full of problems. But religion isn't what makes the problems. People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people. Not being religious doesn't make someone better. And, really, who is completely open-minded? Most of us believe what we do or behave as we do due to what we believe is true and right. So, yes, of course that means that we believe others can be wrong, or less right, but that doesn't mean we're oppressing them.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:33 AM

I've spent some time with a youth group when I was in junior and senior high. I enjoyed the companionship even though I was cynical (even then) about church in general. What has always amazed me (since I was old enough to start questioning it), are the strongly religious people that can mock the early Greeks who believed in Zeus and the other gods, who are condescending to the Native Americans about their beliefs in many different spirits, but cannot see that the Bible is no different from those stories.

Posted by: Beth | April 10, 2007 9:35 AM

Catholics do not teach women should be subservient to their husbands. There are a lot of problems in the Catholic church, and in many denominations. There is also a lot of good.

I found that being raised with religion helped me understand other faith groups. This is increasingly important in our world today. Some of my Jewish friends joke that I know more about Jewish traditions than most of their friends, and we had a semester in my Christian school on the Islamic faith in high school (well before 9/11). Most of the people I know who harbor misconceptions about religious groups and beliefs do so out of ignorance of any religious tradition. There was a fantastic editorial in the WA Post about six months ago from the president of Notre Dame (Jenkins?) about the importance of learning about theology, even in a secular setting, to understand the world around us. It really spoke to me.

For example, look at the comments made thus far about the Catholic church. I'm not even Catholic, and I'm offended. I can't imagine what will be said about Muslims today. Perhaps it's just best to ignore this and let the hate spew, since most of the people who say it will have to miss their Don Imus fix for a few weeks.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | April 10, 2007 9:37 AM

""it would be a challenge to be considered 'well-educated' in the West without a basic understanding of the Christian mythology."

This will come as news to a great many people!"

It shouldn't come as a surprise at all -- from the Renaissance forward the Christian mythology has been a central theme within Western arts and literature.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:37 AM

People don't like what they don't understand. so they consider the other side to be intolerent.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:38 AM

You are very rude. Meesh said nothing mean in her post. Grow up if you can and learn to be accepting of other people's beliefs.

Posted by: to smurfette | April 10, 2007 9:40 AM

Smurfette, silly me with the "altar" misspelling. I certainly know which is the right spelling, but those homonyms get mixed up in my head.

I don't know how to convince you that we learned about other religions in Catholic school. But here's my attempt: In the K through 8 elementary school, we had 8 class periods. One was "religion," and it was mandatory. So for about 8 years, for 45 minutes every week day (except for summers and breaks), we talked about religion. We learned all about the saints, all about the bible, and if my memory is correct, we spent two entire grades learning about other religions and how they are all connected by certain beliefs. I think we convered the contemporary religions. But feel free to disagree--if you never experienced it, how would you know?

Posted by: Meesh | April 10, 2007 9:42 AM

Once we did a survey on job satisfaction. The factors listed were benefits for humanity, self-fulfilment, remuneration, etc. And then more than one respondent suddenly mentioned that a job provided them a kind of structure. So we added "need for structure" to the factors, and surprisingly it got significant weight.

I personally was amazed that people felt such need. For me, it's like a need to be limited/restrained/imprisoned. Then again, I feel the same way about religion. Going someplace every Sunday or Saturday or Friday, doing ritualistic things, seeing the same people for 20 years and working on the same projects (Heifer, anybody?)feels just weird. I took classes in history of religions, and studied mythology, but it doesn't mean I'm about to start practicing it.

As an aside, when we were on location in Greece, I went to a beach with 3 years old and 5 years old. We made friends with local guys and within a couple hours went boating with them. No freaking out about strangers on either side. Another time, in Italy I was just walking down the street, and the guy stepped out of the Gallery and invited our family to see an exhibit which was set up, but not open to the public yet (well, he did not really see the family tagging along a few steps behind :) My husband and kids politely declined and went for some ice cream, but I enjoyed a couple hours seeing a great art by myself in an air-conditioned place. Sure, it happens more in Europe, because we are exotic creatures there, and everything is more exciting for us, but would not you invite a French or British kid to your house if you struck a conversation on the street, let alone in a synagogue?

Posted by: Alyia | April 10, 2007 9:43 AM

People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 09:33 AM

EXACTLY!!! You just proved my point (and interestingly, disproved your own)- why should one be institutionlaized by a church??? why can't one be spiritual on their own?? people are flawed- so why follow a church led by a MAN?? Why follow something led by people?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:43 AM

"It took one post to bash conservatives and religious people as intolerant. That must be a record! Congratualtions Anon for Today."

Look, we are entitled to our opinions and I would not call what I wrote "bashing". And if it were, it's well deserved. "Christians" (I put that in quotes because I only mean the evangelical holier than thou types who do things like bomb clinics or tell others they are going to hell for being gay, etc, not Christians who embrace tolerance and love) attempt to impose their views and way of life on others. This is the United States of America and we are entitled by our constitution to freedom to worship any way we please. To have our government impose any one religion's views is oppressive and unamerican.

With regard to not "bashing" muslims or Jews---well I'd say the same if Muslims or Jews were imposing their views on others in this country. While some muslims in other countries are crazy terrorists and fascists (Osama et al and Saudia Arabia), I don't see that Muslims are passing laws here that women must wear a veil or people must follow their rules. "Christians" do that---ban stem cell research, bomb abortion clinics and pass ridiculous laws and rules such as making contraception difficult to get, etc. If you don't like it, preach love to these freaks.

So if you think I'm picking on Christians, I guess so--they are the dominant and domineering religion in this country and as such are subject to criticism.

With regard to today's blog, I have no problem with it. I do think it comes very close to advocating for proselytizing and I'd prefer not being approached by anyone at work or my kids at school. Keep your religion to yourself.

Posted by: anon for today | April 10, 2007 9:45 AM

Not quite sure what the article has to do with the topics covered on this blog - looks a little bit like this woman was just given the pulpit to preach what she believes in.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:45 AM

Her comment was just snark...
You just need to change your phrasing from *all* other ... to *many* other ...

p.s. your experience mirrors mine

Posted by: to Meesh | April 10, 2007 9:46 AM

"My Catholic school did a great job of exposing us to all religions."

Most religious schools teach theology every year-round, which is why they have time to explore other theologies of the world. My Lutheran school did the same thing. Maybe "all religions" is an overstatement.

Again, it taught me to have a lot of respect for what other people believed. I dated someone for years who was one of the most spiritual people I've ever met, and he was an athiest. However, he has such a sense of self and respect for the world around him it was amazing. While it may be different for others, being raised with religion taught me to respect other beliefs or lack thereof, and to not judge others for theirs. I certainly hope I'm passing that onto my children.

Posted by: Ann Arbor | April 10, 2007 9:47 AM

Scarry-go to any synagogue in the world-including the US- and you would probably get invites to homes for friday night dinner. It has to be with being jewish, not being elsewhere.

To 9:27(anon): I agree. I never understood the idea of other religions to tell me þhat they know the way and that they want me to believe as they do. I do what is right for our family, you can do what is right for yours, please leave me alone.

Posted by: atlmom | April 10, 2007 9:47 AM

The only reason I have for dragging my kids to church is to possibly tap into any available scholarships and to be able to answer some of the crossword puzzle clues. Oh, no wait, also I get to deduct the money I cough up. Of course, I also donate through the CFC so it balances out.

I often wonder why people grow up and out of believing in fairies and yet go on believing in an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful deity. Or deities.

*shrugs*

Posted by: BL | April 10, 2007 9:47 AM

"Keep your religion to yourself."

Let me point out that the above command is a bulleying statement equivalent to telling someone to shut-up.

5 demerits for the anti-religious.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 9:49 AM

Like many, I dispair at what mankind has done to faith. But what mankind has done does not invalidate faith. I would rather all the religious screwballs be institutionalized but I guess that isn't realistic. I have to agree, that a little more understanding and empathy would go a long way to making the world a better place. I am not promoting faith as a cure, but promoting understanding instead. You don't have to buy into any faith in order to understand it but if you understand it, you can better understand where its adherents are coming from.

Posted by: LM in WI | April 10, 2007 9:52 AM

"There are a lot of problems in the Catholic church, and in many denominations. There is also a lot of good."

I think this is why so many people raised in the Catholic church do live lives of what someone else called "partial obedience." The teachings about birth control (other than the rhythm method) are too impractical in modern American life. That issue aside, there's something to be said for the consistency and ritual of the Mass. It can be comforting for people.

I like Garrison Keillor's definition of Lutheran evangelism: "It's not the worst religion."

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 9:52 AM

There's a lot of intolerance on the blog today - much of it from the atheist/agnostic set. I've pasted just a few of the more choice quotes below. I'd like for some of the people who posted them to explain how they think they're being tolerant, understanding, whatever, if they want to. Otherwise, we'll just accept the fact that these atheists/agnostics are as intolerant as the religious (read: Christians) they so ardently criticize.

I'm a regular, and there ain't no way I'm posting this under my regular name - I don't need more people claiming I'm stupid, naive, ignorant, idiotic, and the rest of the names these 'tolerant' people are so quick to use.

"In my opinion,brainwashing children to believe in superstitious nonsense contained in the koran, the bible or the torah is child abuse."

"I wouldn't affirm Rationalist's words 100%, but it's pretty messed up to teach children to believe in the otherworldly with such vigor."

""The Catholic church certainly does not teach that the only purpose for women is to bear children and be a housewife." Absolutely right -- the poster completely forgot that women can be nuns too..."

"I already think it's bad enough that we go on a christian holiday schedule for vacations and such"

"To be a little brutal, I cannot for the life of me understand how any intelligent person with an ounce of interest in current affairs, or history for that matter, wouldn't see religion for the blight to humanity that it is."

"How can any intelligent person subscribe to the teachings of just one church, just one religion??? How can any intelligent person be so close minded to beleive that THEIR way is the only right way???"

Posted by: No name | April 10, 2007 9:53 AM

I had two best friends as a kid - one was Jewish and the other Catholic (I am Protestant). We had more fun going to Temple on Friday night, Folk Catholic service on Sat and my church on Sunday morning. I had a working knowledge of all three.
To me religion is very personal. It isn't something you freely discuss with strangers. For as many people there are in the room there are that many ideas about religion and what it means to that person. I don't want someone coming to my door at 9am on a Sat morning to talk about it. If I want to be a part of a religion I will come to you.
I can say that a few years ago I was having a conversation with someone who went to a certain church that was near my house that sounded interesting until...he told me that women had no part in the services. I declined.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 9:56 AM

I have my own cultural predjudices as I am aware. Being from the South, a certain politeness is expected. Also, being a large man, I have learned (Tony Soprano to the contrary) that it is better to keep my temper in check. Still, I was called to the test once, when meeting an orthodox woman and extending my hand, as I am want to do, she scorned it, calling into account some remnant of Medieval habit disguised as a religious more.

Worst yet, the woman introducing me to her bought into the whole shebang and somehow felt I was at fault for being unaccomodating. Well, I saw red. Had to physically control myself from belting them both. You see, I was raised to believe that not shaking an offered hand was tantamount to spitting in your eye. On top of that, it would seem that rather than this woman entering the modern world, I was expected to take a direct insult and smile.

It was too much. The author above speaks of community but the communal feeling is only available to those who buy into whatever the rules are and the implicit assumption is that if you don't, you are in the wrong.

Posted by: Dave | April 10, 2007 9:58 AM

Re my previous comment- "My son is now quite the little theologian who comes up with all kinds of questions (would Zeus beat Odin in a fight?)"

Just need to brag here- my son is 5. (Oh, and he decided that Zeus would indeed beat Odin. The Norse gods were depicted as very strong humans with special powers- but they could die, and in fact at the end of their era, a story tells how they were all eaten by a giant wolf.)

Someone suggested the Odyssey as a great adventure story for boys- I definitely second that. Also the Iliad. But you'll probably want to get a simpler version for kids. (Check the library!)

Another comment- has anyone noticed how horrible some Bible stories are? I was reading my son a children's book with Bible stories and one story was about the destruction of Jericho. I had a hard time explaining why the Hebrew god, who is supposed to be "good" (as opposed to the Greek gods who were sometimes good, sometimes bad) would destroy a whole city just because it was in the way.

Posted by: randommom | April 10, 2007 10:00 AM

But Dave--she may have saved you from touching an woman during her "unclean" time and thus prevented you from imperiling your immortal soul!

People are weird sums it up pretty well, wouldn't you say?

Posted by: to Dave | April 10, 2007 10:02 AM

Religion can be a positive experience for adults and children. However, the framework of organized religion is not the only one that offers the possibility for teaching compassion and tolerance. A humanist or atheist approach is no less effective -- we do not have to believe in a "higher being" to believe we have a purpose in life and to feel as if we are an important part of the global web of life.

Posted by: montgomery3 | April 10, 2007 10:03 AM

I think I am in tune with today's guest blogger. Many answers to human problems are in the Bible. I'm not so certain about scientific answers, but certainly human problems are most unchanged from those described in the Bible.

I do think a balanced life includes time for fitting into the larger frame of life.

I'm glad to see someone bring it up.

Posted by: RoseG | April 10, 2007 10:06 AM

One more thing- for all the folks of Norse extraction out there- my apologies for grossly oversimplifying Norse mythology.
(And if anyone wants to explain the Jericho story to me, feel free!)

Posted by: randommom | April 10, 2007 10:06 AM

I'm an agnostic, as was my father (talk about family values). But I also know that without some background in Greek and Roman mythology, Judaism and Christianity (Old and New Testaments), and other major world religions, the great literary masterpieces of the English language cannot be well understood. That's one reason why there are courses in (Greco-Roman) Classics and The Bible as Literature.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous for this | April 10, 2007 10:07 AM

Wow -- Even I'm afraid to post today. Lucinda has a right to share her views on religion, balance and kids and so do we all -- but jeesh, show a little respect...

I'm nominally Christian, my husband is Jewish, our babysitter is devoutly Christian...and it all works together and shows our kids several different options. Last week we celebrated Easter and Passover and I think our kids learned from each. Mostly I hope they learn about tolerance, and loving people for who they are inside, not any exterior label.

Posted by: Leslie | April 10, 2007 10:09 AM

Delighted to assume the mantle of "intolerant" in this case. But there are degrees of intolerance. My sort does not fly jet planes into office buildings, incinerating Ecuadorean waiters and WASP stock brokers, Puerto Rican managers and Irish/Italian computer programmers.

You may believe that your particular cult would NEVER behave in such a way but, in my opinion, you are kidding yourself.

I better knock it off. I look forward to another topic on another day.

Posted by: Dave | April 10, 2007 10:09 AM

Dave, they also flew those planes into a few of their own who happened to be working at the WTC too, & just chalked their deaths up to collateral damage.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:11 AM

I wholeheartedly agree with KLB SS MD: "To me religion is very personal. It isn't something you freely discuss with strangers."

At work especially, I don't even want to know what someone's religion is. I'm very surprised at how open some people are about their religion in the workplace in the DC area. Has this been the experience of others? I've lived in different places in the northeast, and religion was a taboo subject of discussion in the workplace. I found this a relief.

I also think religion should be kept out of the schools. I myself don't feel sensitive about red and green at "winter celebrations" though I can understand why some people might find this offensive. I'd be perfectly happy with snowflake/snowman themes. My kids have plenty of opportunity to celebrate Christmas at home.

I really objected to a "God Bless America" sign I saw in a public school. I don't care for the moment of silence at school either. To me, that's pretty thinly veiled prayer time.

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 10:12 AM

I actually like different parts of different faiths. I do think to be a truly educated person in Eastern or Western society, one needs to have studied different faiths on a literal and historical level. But I hesitate to actually support vouchers for parachoial schools. I really think teaching the foundation of western civilization, one needs to understand the basics from the three major religions. But it should never be taught as a faith study as much as a literature, culture and history. I also don't know why people feel that Christianity is being attacked in this country. It remains the dominant religion in this country. I think the religious right is still a powerful voting block. But to each his own. I have no issues with people who choose not to expose their children to different faiths.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 10, 2007 10:12 AM

I had no idea Jewish people as a whole were like that.

And, no, I would not just pick up people wandering around my city and asked them to come home for dinner. I have children to think of you know and everyone is not nice, whether they are in church or not. I would never, ever get on a boat with a stranger, get in a car with a stranger or go to a stranger's house. I mean, if you are open to inviting people you don't know home for dinner, more power to you, but that is not for me.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 10:13 AM

"The teachings about birth control (other than the rhythm method) are too impractical in modern American life. "

Not true. Have been using Natural Family Planning (quite different from the Rhythm Method) for almost 3 years now.

To say that "modern American life" requires us to depend on drugs is ridiculous.

And thanks to all those anti-gious out there for showing there true intolerance.

Remember and repeat, "I am the end all be all." (heaps of sarcasm).

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:14 AM

Leslie, can you publish guest blogs from Jewish and Muslim or any other religion as well. It would be nice to hear different perspectives.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 10, 2007 10:14 AM

"There's a lot of intolerance on the blog today - much of it from the atheist/agnostic set. I've pasted just a few of the more choice quotes below. I'd like for some of the people who posted them to explain how they think they're being tolerant, understanding, whatever, if they want to. Otherwise, we'll just accept the fact that these atheists/agnostics are as intolerant as the religious (read: Christians) they so ardently criticize."

One of the words I would love to re-claim is 'tolerance'.

I am extremely intolerant of racism.

I am extremely intolerant of sexism.

I am extremely intolerant of Nazism and Facism.

I attempt to be open-minded -- one of the earliest lessons my father taught me is 'I might be wrong'. I've applied this lesson throughout my life and it's helped keep my ego in check.

I personally believe that religion is the most evil, destructive force ever created my man. It is not, as some have said, that religion is good but those practicing it are flawed -- it is that religion itself is flawed. For any of the current major religions, if you absolutely follow all of the tenets of that faith I believe you would be an evil person.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:14 AM

Lucinda,

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and suggestions on a topic that is important to my husband and myself. When work, homework, sports and family-related travel start to squeeze our time for service in our church community, we know our lives have gotten out of balance and we look for ways to cut the others back until balance is restored. As we raise our children, we seek to communicate and live the importance of discerning God's will for our lives and prioritizing service to others and the community as a core part of living our lives consistent with our faith.

Thanks, Leslie, for providing a forum for a Lucinda, as a parent, a woman, and a believer.

Posted by: Anon for today | April 10, 2007 10:14 AM

Red and green are colors. Should we outlaw blue and white because that could be seen as a Jewish theme? Tolerance is for everyone and a moment of silence could just mean that you are thinking of the soldiers over seas or that you are grateful to be alive. Or if it bothers you so much, don't think anything at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:19 AM

Dave, actually, if you are being introduced to a woman, she's the one that is supposed to initiate a handshake, not you. YMMV, however.

Back when I was in college, a family that was close to ours had their oldest daughter a year behind me go to that same college. They were devout, practicing Catholics, the daughter not so much so.

After I graduated, I saw them again and asked about the daughter, since I knew her and we'd been friends while at college. Her mother coldly announced that she had "gotten herself pregnant" (all by herself apparently) and was no longer spoken about in their home; basically they had disowned their oldest daughter for this! Her mom made it plain that in HER home there was no place for such a disobedient daughter, and there was no forgiving such a sin as hers.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Also, for all those claiming that religion shouldn't be discussed publicly-- It sounds an awful lot like someone saying to a gay person, "Just keep it to yourself. It offends me and if I want to know I'll ask you."

Do you think that a person should keep their sexuality to themselves as well? If not, there is some reconciliation that needs to be done within yourself.

Religion is not something to be kept hidden. For many people it is more than just a hobby. It's something they want to live and not just give lip service to.

You might want to rethink your viewpoint.

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Have been using Natural Family Planning (quite different from the Rhythm Method) for almost 3 years now.

How many times has the wife gotten pregnant? Or are you just sex-starved?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:21 AM

I am an atheist. I don't, however, try to convince those that are religious that my way is the only right way. As long as they respect my beliefs the same way that I respect their beliefs, then we'll get along fine. The problem is that many religions teach that you are supposed to go out and spread the word, and that all other religions are wrong. It breeds intolerance.

Posted by: Tolerance needs to go both ways . . . | April 10, 2007 10:22 AM

Question:

Are you considered a citizen of Israel if you are not Jewish? I thought I had heard that the Bedouin (who had initially been supportive of the creation of Israel) were increasingly marginalized.

Is Israel a theocracy? If yes, how does that make it different from, say, Morocco?

Posted by: For those who know this stuff | April 10, 2007 10:24 AM

//How can any intelligent person subscribe to the teachings of just one church, just one religion??? How can any intelligent person be so close minded to beleive that THEIR way is the only right way???//

I don't think that reasonable people of faith think that their way is the ONLY way, just the way they have chosen. Sure, there are those who think otherwise, but please don't paint everyone with the same brush.

//But religion isn't what makes the problems. People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people. Not being religious doesn't make someone better. And, really, who is completely open-minded?//

That's at the heart of the argument. It's not religions per se that cause the world's problems--it's flawed people. In the absolute absence of religion, there would still be flawed people and they would still create problems. Can't you see the flaw in this argument:

Religious people cause the world's problems.
Therefore,
Absence of religion will solve the world's problems.


Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:25 AM

"How many times has the wife gotten pregnant? Or are you just sex-starved?"

Actually, I am the wife thanks, and the husband has yet to complain thanks again.

We have needed to use NFP to both avoid pregnancy for medical reasons and to try to conceive.

All is well on our end, though, thanks for the gross generalizations. They are duly noted.

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:26 AM

The problem is that many religions teach that you are supposed to go out and spread the word, and that all other religions are wrong. It breeds intolerance.

Amen to that!

Anyone here who has NOT been hassled by the Mormons, or the Jehovah's Witnesses? Mormons in particular just do NOT go away, even when told to go away, do not come back, leave me alone, I'm going to get a gun now...

Posted by: Virginia | April 10, 2007 10:26 AM

Not true. Have been using Natural Family Planning (quite different from the Rhythm Method) for almost 3 years now.

To say that "modern American life" requires us to depend on drugs is ridiculous.
________________________

I admit I haven't investigated the science of modern Natural Family Planning and don't know what adjustments are made as a woman approaches menopause. I do know the rhythm method did not work for many women in my mother's generation, and many married Catholic couples were faced with change-of-life pregnancies and raised children later in life than they would have preferred.

These women did feel oppressed by this rule, and it ultimately drove them away from the Catholic church later in life.

I myself will find a church home that I find more in line with my decisions about reproductive planning. I won't find fault with any couple who chooses to stay in the Catholic faith and also chooses a method of birth control other than Natural Family Planning. I don't think they should feel forced out of their faith or that they are in sin because of that choice.

Your opinion differs, so be it. I did want to state my thinking here though.

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 10:27 AM

We have needed to use NFP to both avoid pregnancy for medical reasons and to try to conceive.

A condom is simpler. Double-up if you don't trust them.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:27 AM

I see that all of the same old, same old intolerant atheists have tired of filling up the On Faith blog and moved over to here.

Maybe after lunch when the mean girls and boys have gone off to ruin another sandbox, we can have an interesting discussion on balancing time commitments to faith communities with parenting and with work.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:29 AM

Lou,
I don't see any reason to publicly discuss a stranger's sexual orientation any more or less than their religion. Because you aren't talking about it doesn't mean you can't live it.
If a man introduces me to another man as his "partner" or "significant other" I would assume he is gay and leave it at that. If the same man started a conversation about baseball why would the subject even come up? The same goes for religion.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 10:30 AM

"Leslie, can you publish guest blogs from Jewish and Muslim or any other religion as well. It would be nice to hear different perspectives."

This is not the Comparative Religion blog, it is the On Balance blog. It's bad enough that we're wasting one day talking about something that has little to do with balance for most of us without turning every Tuesday into the "Guest Religious Blog".

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:34 AM

KLB SS MD - But basically, people are saying that religion is personal (it is) and it should not be discussed in public.

How does that make a "religious" person like me feel? I can't comment that I went to church for Easter? Or should I not be ok to say that I don't believe in abortion (as my religion teaches)? Or how about the simple fact that I can't go to such and such a restaurant on Good Friday because I am fasting?

My religion is not something that I can suppress and at the same time live it fully. To tell people to do so is just wrong.

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:37 AM

Wanting the separation of church and state (including public schools) doesn't make me an atheist.

I'm more comfortable with religion not being discussed in the workplace because it opens the door to discrimination. I worked in a firm that had no Jewish partner until the 90's. I would not have stayed there if I had not seen a rapid change away from old discriminatory attitudes (toward women as well) due to retirements/turnover in the partner staff.

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 10:38 AM

What KLB said.

Posted by: mountainS | April 10, 2007 10:38 AM

Lou,
That isn't what I am saying at all. Of course you can comment about going to church on Easter and that you are fasting. I am talking about a stranger or mere acquaintance who initiates a deep conversation about their particular religious beliefs. I am not comfortable with that.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 10:39 AM

Her mom made it plain that in HER home there was no place for such a disobedient daughter, and there was no forgiving such a sin as hers.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 10:20 AM

Is this what you experienced all the time as a Catholic or was this an isolated incident?

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 10:41 AM


Wow, people do get so angry about religion. I agree that it is hard not to get angry at someone or a group of people that believe everyone should follow the teachings of their faith. If you don't believe in their faith, whatever it might be, then you will feel like someone is forcing you to try to behave according to a narrative that feels to you like a "fairy tale."
HOWEVER, this statement;
"I personally believe that religion is the most evil, destructive force ever created by man."

isn't helpful. You don't propose that states therefore abolish the practice of religion, do you? When this has been done, it hasn't resulted in greater enlightenment or benevolence (Soviet Union, Republic of China, etc....)Doesn't religion to a certain extent seem inevitable? We are all here, none of us sure about how (not the scientific explanation, but the existential one)or why, isn't it obvious that people would come up with ways to explain that?
Additionally I find that people who identify themselves as atheists have one bewildering (to me, anyway) thing in common with many very religious people; that is the absolute certainty that they are right. Both atheists and very religious people are basing their belief on a faith that they are right...and maybe they are, but they can't really know, any more than anyone else, that they are absolutely right. Atheists often get stuck on undermining one particular religious story or another, any of which may in fact be ridiculous or untrue...but how can any of us really be so sure? You cannot absolutely disprove the existence of god anymore that you can absolutely prove it. It all depends on faith, and in this case atheists and the religiously fundamental have more in common with one another, than they do with the rest of us.

Posted by: Bethesda, MD | April 10, 2007 10:43 AM

"But basically, people are saying that religion is personal (it is) and it should not be discussed in public"

Lou, I've only skimmed the comments so may have missed where someone said don't talk about it at all, but I will say that to me there is a difference between talking about your religion and proselytizing (sp?), a line that often seems to be crossed and perhaps one that seems to be in a different place depending on which side of it you are on.

I have no problem with people talking about their church and their church-related activities. But there are times when my religious acquaintances make statements that to me seem to either assume that all good people share their religion (which I do not) or to be getting forceful about the idea that I should believe as they do. Those sort of statements can be very offensive to a person who is not religious but nonetheless considers themself to be a moral and "good" person. But I think that more often than not, those acquaintances have no idea that that is the implication of their words - I think they believe so much that they simply don't see how it could come across to a non-believer. So that is something I struggle with.

There is blatant intolerance from the religious and the non-religious, but to me that is relatively easy to dismiss. The harder part is in the grey areas where the strength of a persons belief simply becomes incompatible with that of another, and then it becomes difficult to talk about it without creating conflict.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 10:45 AM

KLB SS MD - I am not comfortable with that either. Glad we agree. :)

There are some very stubborn people out there who keep trying to make anecdotal (sp?) evidence proof of something more.

"I once knew someone who had this really bad thing happen to them. Oh yeah, and they were Catholic, so aren't those Catholics all terrible..........."

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:46 AM

At work, why not just say--I'll be out of the office on Friday; let's do lunch another day (or if it's a business lunch you have to attend, just don't eat if you're fasting, or order fish or veg if you're abstaining). Maybe it's harder in the DC area than in the northeast. In the working environments I've been in, no one would ask or comment.

It's not that you have to hide your religion, you just don't have to advertise it at work. And no, I don't think discussions about what you believe about abortion are appropriate in the workplace or in the public schools (because there are children there who are a captive audience). Talk about it all you want at a dinner party, or write whatever letter to the editor you would like.

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 10:47 AM

Interesting topic today, particularly since I'm on my own religious journey.

a) I agree with the posters who say that religion shouldn't just be taught, but lived. I don't think that it matters so much if I can name the four gospels (which I can), but rather whether I can interpret what they are saying and apply their teachings to my everyday life. Naming them is just an exercise in memory.

b) I also think that to understand your religion you have to learn about other religions and you have to question what is said by priests, rabbis, imans, etc. There is nothing wrong with questioning what you are being taught. I think that many problems with religious connotations are caused by a lack of questioning of religous beliefs.

c) On the role of women in the Catholic church - please remember that there were more gospels written than the 4 that were included in the Bible (you also have to place the Bible in its historical context). To really understand the role of women, you have to read these other gospels as well as other cannonical literature. Interesting enough, the pope's homily was partly about the role of women in the church. He said something to the effect that without women, there would be no church.

My husband and I don't have children yet, but when we do, we plan to take them to church with us and teach them about our religion as well as others. How do parents reconcile their religious doubts when teaching about religion to their children? Do you discuss these with them?

Posted by: MV | April 10, 2007 10:51 AM

(MEGAN) Those sort of statements can be very offensive to a person who is not religious but nonetheless considers themself to be a moral and "good" person.

Megan - If you are offended why not just say so and leave it at that? something like "I don't share those beliefs and please don't assume I do." I don't understand why people can't be offended anymore. We are a nation living in fear of offending one another. Nobody discusses problems, they accuse and belittle. Not you personally but your remark just set me off.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 10:51 AM

So reticent regular - Do you think that the workplace is the only place that the religious should not talk publicly? Because I was talking about everyday life.

Posted by: Lou | April 10, 2007 10:52 AM

Megan - If you are offended why not just say so and leave it at that? something like "I don't share those beliefs and please don't assume I do."

_________________________

If Megan is at work, she may feel that there could be negative repurcussions if she comments. She shouldn't be put in that position at work.

Posted by: reticent regular | April 10, 2007 10:55 AM

What texts would you recommend for non-religious families? Bertrand Russell? Charles Darwin? ;-)

Seriously, though, I give Christians a lot of flack for forcing their ideas down my throat (I still don't understand the deal with Easter. People coming back from the dead? In my horror-movie mind, that's a zombie--not cool). But occasionally, I'll meet a person who genuinely wants to share their religion with me, accepts me as a non-believer, and just wants to spread a little joy. On those occasions, I attended whatever service they invited me to, and had a fantastic time. I would meet the kindest, most friendly people, hear declarations of love and faith, and my heart would swell. The ones who accept outsiders are usually the most kind and loving. The ones who are on a converting crusade are the ones I just don't bother with. The ones who talk the loudest are the fakes, and the ones who quietly live their lives in peace and harmony are the ones I think I could learn a thing or two from.

It seems everyone I talk to pokes fun at Mormons, and pretends not to be home when they come up the walk. But I've found them to be especially welcoming and kind. My aunt and uncle are Mormon, and one time during a pancake breakfast, we ran out of syrup. They went to their house and brought back a gallon jug of syrup. When I asked why they had so much, I learned that it is a Mormon tradition to keep a year's worth of food stockpiled, so in the event of an emergency they would have enough to give to their neighbors.

The profundity of that desire to help one's neighbor will probably stick with me for the rest of my life.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 10:56 AM

Lou,
I think that a bar is not a good place for religious or political discussions (esp not after a few adult beverages) :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 10:56 AM

People would find it offensive to suggest to an employee should conceal, or avoid disclosing, that he has two kids and a wife. In fact many on this blog advocate that men should tell their bosses they are leaving early to pick up a sick child or won't be in on Friday because of a field trip, in order to raise awareness that dads seek balance, too. Yet those same proponents of openness when it comes to family priorities want others to scrub their work conversations of any hint of religious belief. What hypocrisy.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 10:57 AM

When I asked why they had so much, I learned that it is a Mormon tradition to keep a year's worth of food stockpiled, so in the event of an emergency they would have enough to give to their neighbors.

They do keep a stockpile so that they can feed their family in case of an emergency. They also have farms where they grow food for the needy. I have found that the LDS people are some of the kindest people I have every met in my life. Yes, it was hard to live in Utah as a "liberal" but I have some very good friends, some are better than the ones I grew up with.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 11:00 AM

"Meesh

You may "know all about the Bible", but
you should know how to spell "altar" if you were an "altar server"!!

"I think it is important for kids to learn about all religions "

"My Catholic school did a great job of exposing us to all religions."

I find this impossible to believe and a little silly for you to have written.

Learning about ALL religions must have taken up a great deal of time..."

Smurfette, I went to a Catholic university and learned about other religions. A good start is Huston Smith's book "The World's Religions."

Posted by: MV | April 10, 2007 11:01 AM

"Megan - If you are offended why not just say so and leave it at that? something like "I don't share those beliefs and please don't assume I do." I don't understand why people can't be offended anymore. We are a nation living in fear of offending one another."

Anon for several reasons, that's an interesting reaction.

Sometimes I do say something, sometimes I don't. Certainly when somebody is being more blatant about it, I speak right up - for example, when a co-worker distributed pamphlets from their church urging us to vote against gay marriage because gay people are sinners who are destroying our country (yes, that is really what they said), I certainly said something.

But when it's a passing remark and I can tell the speaker has no idea how it could come across, I'm not sure it always makes sense, so it just depends on what it is and who the person is.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 11:01 AM

How does that make a "religious" person like me feel? I can't comment that I went to church for Easter?

Sure, if we're discussing what you did for the weekend. But don't look disgusted if I say I did something other than go to church for Easter.

Or should I not be ok to say that I don't believe in abortion (as my religion teaches)?

If we're discussing abortion, sure you can say you're against it for religious reasons, but realize that this is not a rational argument that will persuade someone who does not share your religious views. So don't expect other people to make their moral judgements based on your religion.

Or how about the simple fact that I can't go to such and such a restaurant on Good Friday because I am fasting?

Again, this is fine if I've asked you to go to some restaurant on Good Friday, as long as it's not said with contempt that I am not fasting on Good Friday. Or that I should have known/assumed you were fasting.

Posted by: Kathrina | April 10, 2007 11:02 AM

I don't have a problem with people worshipping whatever they want in whatever manner they want as long as they don't feel the need to talk to me about it. My relationship with God is intensely personal and I am appalled when people ask me about it or talk to me about their religion. Examples:

A manager at my company saying "I've learned that God is my only true boss".

A neighbor asking me what church my family attends.

People praying at a department meeting, even if it's to themselves. Go be pious elsewhere.

I have found this irritating all my life. Surely, I'm not alone. I think it's ostentatious to flaunt your religion, faith, practices.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 11:03 AM

Her mom made it plain that in HER home there was no place for such a disobedient daughter, and there was no forgiving such a sin as hers.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 10:20 AM

This person was not following the teaching of the Catholic church I know. All sins can be forgiven. At my church, a baby was baptized a few weeks ago and his parents were not married.

Posted by: MOMto3 | April 10, 2007 11:03 AM

People praying at a department meeting, even if it's to themselves. Go be pious elsewhere.

People have a right to pray. If they aren't asking you to do it, what the hell is your problem.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:05 AM

"At my church, a baby was baptized a few weeks ago "

At my church, babies cannot be baptized, only adults.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:08 AM

Megan, I am offended daily, sometimes hourly and have learned the trigger point as to when I speak up as well. More to the point is that most people want to stop everyone from saying anything even slightly offensive, as if the Constitution affords them the right NOT to feel uncomfortable.

Conversation, discussion, the give and take of ideas, they don't exist for some people. Their mantra is "It is my way or the highway." Look at some of the statements on today's blog, most are from anti-religious posters. Intolerance is what they preach but they are the intolerant onces.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 11:09 AM

"At my church, babies cannot be baptized, only adults."

Its time you find a better church!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:09 AM

"I came back to religion on my own when I hit a rough spot in my adult life, and was surprised by how much of a comfort it really can be."

This is the true purpose of religion. To help us feel we're not alone, to make us believe someone is watching out for us, and that we can handle anything if we stay strong in our beliefs. If believing in a god helps you overcome your problems, I'm all for it. I think it's a great thing. Meditation and exercise do the same for me. If your religion comforts you, gives you strength, wonderful. If your religion makes you spew words of hate and bomb health clinics, maybe it's time to shop for a more peaceful religion.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 11:11 AM

While we're on the topic, I have a question to the religious folks who are commenting today.

Where I live, in the last 10 years or so, it has become common to see businesses including the Christian fish symbol in their advertisements. This is true for all sorts of businesses, not just those that might have some clear connection to religion - electricians, garden stores, hardware stores, shoe stores - whatever. I think this is strange and I honestly have a hard time knowing how to interpret this. Is it supposed to indicate that they are more trustworthy? Is there some effort to get Christians to support other Christian businesses? Is it just that they are so committed to their faith they need to advertise it with their business? Do they not want to deal with non-chritians? I am not trying to be snarky or anti-religious, I just really am curious as to why this has become so common recently, and figure this is as good a time to ask as any.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 11:12 AM

People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 09:33 AM

EXACTLY!!! You just proved my point (and interestingly, disproved your own)- why should one be institutionlaized by a church??? why can't one be spiritual on their own?? people are flawed- so why follow a church led by a MAN?? Why follow something led by people?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 09:43 AM

Interesting you consider that to prove your point. But okay. We should always do everything individually. There is no purpose worth joining together with others. That is best. There should be no businesses, companies, schools, unions, social action groups, countries, governments, or families. The idea that "united we stand, divided we fall" is meaningless.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:13 AM

Mona - I agree with your comments about Mormons. It's interesting that it is so often acceptable in sophisticated, supposedly tolerant, circles to Mormon-bash. It's as though there's an unwritten rule that if no one representing the bashed group is around, it's somehow not as offensive. For whatever an anecdotal experience is worth, the Mormons I've known have made more meaningful efforts to live their faith then do many of the rest of those of us who profess a faith.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 11:13 AM

"Where I live, in the last 10 years or so, it has become common to see businesses including the Christian fish symbol in their advertisements."

In my place of work, the Christian fish symbol has the word "creationism" inside it, and is being eaten by a bigger fish--who has feet--labeled "Darwinism." But then again, I work in evolutionary developmental biology. We're just a bunch of blasphemers anyway. Go ahead and give up on us. ;-)

One of the strangest things I saw was at this gas station on Balt-Annap Blvd. The pumps had Bible verses on posters above them, and the speakers were blaring some sermon. I'm assuming the station was owned independently. I wasn't exactly offended, but I also didn't go back there. Something about it was just too weird for me.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 11:18 AM

People have a right to pray. If they aren't asking you to do it, what the hell is your problem.

I think it's showing off. I think that you can pray without having to close your eyes, bow your head, and make a broadway production out of it.

My favorite way to pray is with my arms outstretched and my face turned toward the sky, eyes wide open, when I'm ALONE in the woods. You don't have to assume the position to pray.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 11:19 AM

"Megan, I am offended daily, sometimes hourly"

Yikes, that's a lot of being offended!

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 11:19 AM

I think it's showing off. I think that you can pray without having to close your eyes, bow your head, and make a broadway production out of it.

Well, they have the right to do it their way and you have the right to do it yours. Be respectful.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:21 AM

""Keep your religion to yourself."
Let me point out that the above command is a bulleying statement equivalent to telling someone to shut-up.
5 demerits for the anti-religious."

I am not anti-religious--I am anti-zealot and anti-bullying which is what many in the Christian right are--zealots and bullies. I am entitled to peace--I am entitled to practice my own religion without being approached by others nor being subjected to laws enacted based on religious beliefs. I'm not the bully--people like you are.

Posted by: To anon at 9:49 | April 10, 2007 11:21 AM

A good start is Huston Smith's book "The World's Religions."

I have that one too. Nice overview.

"Her mom made it plain that in HER home there was no place for such a disobedient daughter, and there was no forgiving such a sin as hers."

Check out the aarp site/forum. You find a LOT of people there with exactly that outlook. A fair number of them are at the grandparenting thread, complaining about how they aren't permitted to see their grandchildren. I wonder what, really, is going down...

"At my church, a baby was baptized a few weeks ago"

I find that odd, myself. Mind you, I was baptized twice as an infant, both times by Catholic priests. It would seem to me that being baptized after you have some notion of what is going on is more likely to be meaningful to the baptized person. But whatever. They baptize infants at the church I attend too. I surmise it gives their parents some measure of comfort.

Posted by: MarylandMother | April 10, 2007 11:22 AM

I just wanted to say thanks to "Good stories" and "Randommom" for their ideas on sharign myths with children. My husband and I don't have kids yet and we struggle with the idea of how to convey religion to any kids in the future. He's Catholic, but not devout, and I was raised Episcopal but don't subscribe to any organized religion now. If anything, I like to think of myself as a "seeker of truth." I've read the Greeks, the Romans, the Norse, Hebrew works, Christian works, Buddhist works, Hindu works, you name it. I'm much more interested in the universal themes that run through every religion than what divides them. I was lucky that may parents gave me a well-balanced religious education rather than an indoctrination and let me make up my mind for myself. I've struggled with how to do the same for my kids while nodding to my husband's beliefs. Your ideas are great ones.

Also, completely agree that an understanding of world religions -- most notably Christianity, Judaism and Islam -- is absolutely necessary to understand our world. Western history and religion can't be divorced from one another.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:23 AM

Today's topic reminds me of the restaurant patrons who were leaving bible tracts as tips for waiters.....

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:23 AM

n my place of work, the Christian fish symbol has the word "creationism" inside it, and is being eaten by a bigger fish--who has feet--labeled "Darwinism." But then again, I work in evolutionary developmental biology. We're just a bunch of blasphemers anyway. Go ahead and give up on us. ;-)

I saw a REALLY COOL "fish", it had science in the body and the fishy part looked like a rocket.

Oh, and for the after-hours crowd, I spotted this bumpersticker yesterday:

"Millk sucks. Make mine a margarita!"

It's all about balance, right?

Posted by: MdMother | April 10, 2007 11:24 AM

I'm intrigued by the strong responses that have appeared this morning. I'm a Presbyterian by upbringing, and Presbyterians are hardly known to be ardent prostelytizers (did I spell that right???). For the record, please let me state that I am decidedly left of center on most theological and social issues. I am no fan of the religious right, and, like many of this morning's posters, I shudder when I contemplate the intolerance and bigotry that have been released in the world in the name of religion.

Like foamgnome and others, I do think there's a place for learning about all of the world's religions. There's also a place for learning about philosophical systems that are not theological in nature. Because of their role in the development of western civilization, I have no problem with holding up Judaism, Christianity, and Islam for special consideration. Knowing about each of these religions is not necessarily the same thing as adhering to one or the other of them as a believer.

I also know that religious experience in this country is incredibly diverse. Even within any particular denomination or religious group, there is tremendous diversity of thought. Surely there must be some place where people having different experiences and different points of view can come together and compare notes, as it were, without getting so angry with each other.

Posted by: Lucinda Brown | April 10, 2007 11:25 AM

Actually, you are wrong. Someone who is orthodox and believes that he or she cannot touch the other sex, is not imposing on you. Shaking hands is a western ritual--maybe not one based in religion but your belief nonetheless. To be angry because you could not respect another's beliefs says nothing good about you. How about if she was angry because you didn't perform some ritual she believed was right? What if you didn't bow before a Japanese person, should that person be angry with you? How about we arrest you for driving on the sabbath?

Talk about intolerant.

Posted by: To Dave | April 10, 2007 11:26 AM

Baptizing infants (in the Catholic church) is really not odd if you consider the reasons behind it. This is done because of the belief that we are born with original sin, and baptism takes this away. It is also done for a less unknown reason - if you've ever read Dante's Inferno, you'd know that there was a belief in his time that children who died before they were baptized were trapped in limbo - a place that was not hell or purgatory.

You also have to remember that baptism is not the only rite in the Catholic church; other rites include communion and confirmation which are supposed to go hand in hand with your maturity and understanding of your faith.

Posted by: MV | April 10, 2007 11:28 AM

"Where I live, in the last 10 years or so, it has become common to see businesses including the Christian fish symbol in their advertisements."

It's commercial shorthand for, we may share core beliefs. It is akin to the rainbow symbol in a window of a business in Rehoboth. For those who want to support businesses owned by people who share their values and beliefs, it is a way to communicate those shared values and beliefs.

Many smaller communities of politics as well as of faith have learned over the centuries that supporting each other economically, e.g., creating a rising tide, lifts all boats, and may be a key to survival. For example, the Jewish community in DC, and elsewhere, has long understood that supporting each other's business, hiring each other's children, contributes to the economic and personal survival of the Jewish community. There are many last names in common amongst Ashkenazi Jews that make it easy for others to identify them from a phone book or website. As often as this information assists Jewish business owners in identifying and conducting business with other Jewish business owners, there are anti-semites who use that same indicia to decline to hire Jewish business owners. In other words, the same information that brings in business can result in the loss of business. Just ask any Jewish attorney who tried to practice law in the '50s outside of NYC.

Christian businesses, the employers of the fish symbol, have no such shared ethnic heritage. It seems to me that the fish symbol, like the rainbow, is an efficient and inoffensive way to communicate a message to those who want to hear it.

Posted by: Anon for the moment. | April 10, 2007 11:29 AM

The pregnant daughter in question wasn't in my family, but were friends of ours. Her family was very Catholic; daily mass, many children (think there were 5), etc, etc.

She was the oldest, first one to college, when I spoke with her (prior to her becoming pregnant and being disowned) she said her parents were very proud of her accomplishments. So it was very shocking to me when her own mom essentially said her oldest daughter no longer existed for what she had done.

My dad's second wife (my mom was the first one) was also Catholic, and while she followed some of their teachings (had to get permission from the church before marrying my father, as she was divorced), she was hardly a strict practicing Catholic. She was also a non-parent to her four children (they were as wild a group as I'd ever seen) but that is another story.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 11:30 AM

According to you they are both intolerant. She didn't respect his belief and he didn't respect hers. Sounds like a draw to me.

Posted by: to To Dave | | April 10, 2007 11:30 AM

I really recommend Joseph Campbell's books ("The Power of Myth", "The Masks of God", "The Hero with a Thousand Faces", etc.) for those interested in universal themes in religion -- and life. And his biography "A Fire in the Mind" is one of my all-time favorites.

Posted by: WorkingMomX | April 10, 2007 11:30 AM

Guess what people. You CAN teach your children to be kind and decent people w/o belonging to an organized religion. Talk to them about your values, live them. Many people subscribe to an organized religion for their kids simply because they are too simple minded or lazy to do the work it takes on a daily basis to instill these qualities in their children.

Posted by: Need no "religion" | April 10, 2007 11:31 AM

I think it is important for parents to educate their children about the religion they follow, for obvious reasons. It is also important to explain why that religion is the religion the parents have chosen to follow. Being born into it isn't enough, and won't withstand scrutiny past age six or so.

It is also important to explain the basics of other world religions so children will understand their peers from other groups and not be too narrow-minded about their own religion. I can't think of any religion that doesn't have both upsides and downsides. This will also help minimize the damage from children picking up ignorant prejudices at school, which is certainly a problem.

Above all, children should be taught to think for themselves.

Posted by: catmommy | April 10, 2007 11:32 AM

Many people subscribe to an organized religion for their kids simply because they are too simple minded or lazy to do the work it takes on a daily basis to instill these qualities in their children.

Posted by: Need no "religion" | April 10, 2007 11:31 AM


You are the intolerant I mentioned earlier. Simple minded and lazy = religious, very nice of you to mention.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 11:35 AM

>And, no, I would not just pick up people >wandering around my city and asked them >to come home for dinner.

I would to also, and I did. Why are you people so afraid? My children are better off without xenophobia, and these interactions enrich them greatly. A few days after 9/11/2001 we walked to a local park (with children!), and a group of young people invited us to their birthday party at the pichic pavillion. They simply asked "Do you like chicken? We have so much food, and not many guests could make it here..." Well, it became clear why: most of the people were from Indonesia, one of the largest Muslim countries, and probably some guests retracted their RSVPs. Still, it was a nice party, the guys really tried to project the good will, and their women definitely were not wearing hinjabs. I must admit, I was still stressed out, and waited until somebody else took would take food from the platter before I tried, but the food was great, no suicide cooks there. I thought if the guys tried so hard to show us that not all Muslims are crazy, we definitely had to respond in kind and show that not all infidels are crusading bigots either. "Infidels" equal non-Muslims, like "goys" equal non-Jewish. Nothing personal.

Of course, it helps that I grew up in a town divided by a river into a Christian a Muslim part (my grandma was German protestant), and I know the customs: guest is sacred.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:35 AM

"I think it's showing off. I think that you can pray without having to close your eyes, bow your head, and make a broadway production out of it."

Chiclet, So do you believe that Muslims who pray several times a day, while bowing in the direction of Mecca, are "showing off"? If I need to close my eyes in order to focus my silent conversation, why would you care?

Not directed at Chiclet: It takes a very insecure person to control the nature and details of others' worship of their god(s).

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:35 AM

Imagine there's no Heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there's no countries
It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You may say that I'm a dreamer
But I'm not the only one
I hope someday you'll join us
And the world will live as one

Posted by: John Lennon | April 10, 2007 11:36 AM

I was raised Catholic, but don't practice anymore. Eight years of Catholic indoctrination was enough to scare me away for good. To be perfectly honest, I never got much out of being a practicing catholic. It was all rote to me.

I have not exposed my son to any particular doctrine. I have explained that some people believe different things, and I will make sure he becomes literate in religious history because it has influenced our culture to such a great extent. We are more about living a good life, helping others, being ethical, that sort of thing. I just don't miss organized religion at all. We have a community that is not religion based. That's all I want, for now at least.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 11:38 AM

I think it is important for parents to educate their children about the religion they follow, for obvious reasons. It is also important to explain why that religion is the religion the parents have chosen to follow.


And if the parents are agnostics or atheists?

Posted by: To catmommy | April 10, 2007 11:39 AM

Working momx: yes, in the south, it is common to put religious stuff on work related stuff. It is just how it is.

When the mormoms come to my home, and I say I am jewish, they back away slowly.

Posted by: atlmom | April 10, 2007 11:40 AM

I have never yet felt the need to seek direction about my life or belief systems from John Lennon, a dead drug user.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:40 AM

Not directed at Chiclet: It takes a very insecure person to control the nature and details of others' worship of their god(s).

I would say that the very insecure persons are the ones who feel the need to display their relationship with God for all the world to see. It's like they feel they need to go public in order to get validation.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 11:42 AM

"I must admit, I was still stressed out, and waited until somebody else took would take food from the platter before I tried, but the food was great, no suicide cooks there."

Wow, you are so hard to please - these people didn't blow me up, now we are best friends forever!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:42 AM

"Many people subscribe to an organized religion for their kids simply because they are too simple minded or lazy..."

More demerits for the anti-religious! In the same posting, a person says to teach kids to be kind, but then calls people who prescribe to organized religion simple minded and lazy.

Why am I not surprised?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:42 AM

I'll admit that I view the religious rights of Christians slightly differently than the rights of other religions in this country. Realistically speaking, I think we have to, because Christianity is the overwhelming majority religion in this country. I'm simply not that worried about Christians being persecuted here. 85% of the population, the president, the overwhelming majority of Congress, most (if not all) of the Supreme Court--you all are going to be fine.

It's the minority religions (and atheism) that have a greater need the protection of our courts and laws, because they are not protected by the sheer numbers that Christianity has.

Posted by: JS | April 10, 2007 11:44 AM

And, no, I would not just pick up people >wandering around my city and asked them >to come home for dinner.

I would to also, and I did. Why are you people so afraid?

That's not xenophobia, that's knowing that there are some really, sick, twisted people in the world. The kind who will come back and hurt you. In fact, they very often deliberately seek out the openly religious, as they are easier prey.

Do you have any idea how few churches actually run background checks on people who apply for volunteer positions? You would think they had learned by now...but no...

Posted by: You're kidding, right? | April 10, 2007 11:44 AM

"My children are better off without xenophobia, and these interactions enrich them greatly"

Are you kidding me? This has nothing to do with xenophobia. It has to do with safety. I am not letting any stranger in my home around my kids no matter what color they are: white, black, red, purple or poka dot. Don't make it a race issue, when it is clearly, for me a safety issue.

I said nothing about anyone's race. Being in an open area outside is different from getting on a boat or inviting someone back to your house you don't know.

oh, I know I am paraniod. People meet strangers all the time and invite them home around their family.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 11:44 AM

Chiclet, you are still ignoring the issue of Muslim worship. Is it offensive to you for a Muslim to bow in the direction of Mecca several times daily, at specific times, in order to worship? Or is it only Christian prayer that offends you?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:45 AM

"I'm much more interested in the universal themes that run through every religion than what divides them."

I don't know if you've read this before, but it was published in Dear Abby years ago, and I've kept it ever since. Please excuse the length and apparent irrelevance:

The Golden Rule:

Brahmanism: This is the sum of duty: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you. (Mahabharata 5:1517)

Buddhism: Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful. (Udana-Varga 5:18)

Confucianism: Surely it is the maxim of loving-kindness: Do not do unto others what you would not have them do unto you. (Analects 15:23)

Taoism: Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain and your neighbor's loss as your own loss. (T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien)

Zoroastrianism: That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself. (Dadistan-I-dinik 94:5)

Judaism: What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. That is the entire law; all the rest is commentary. (Talmud, Shabbat 31a)

Christianity: All things whatsoever ye would that man should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the law and the prophets. (Matthew 7:12)

Islam: No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself. (Sunnah)

Disclaimer: I did not find these passages myself; I don't know if Abby did, or if they were compiled by someone else. I'd like to give credit where it's due, but all I know is that I found it in Dear Abby years ago, and printed it out for posterity.

Also, Taoism is not a religion in the typical sense, but is regarded as such by some.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 11:48 AM

srael's Bedouin citizens - a minority within the Arab minority - have in recent years received increased attention, both from the media and from government institutions.

The process of integrating the Bedouin into Israeli society takes place on two levels - the formal, i.e., by government policy; and the informal, i.e., by changing relationships with Israeli society in general and Jewish society in particular.

The process, as may be expected, is fraught with "natural" difficulties experienced by this cultural group:

*the transition from a traditional, conservative society which only a generation ago was nomadic, entails relinquishing values, customs and a traditional economy;
*the Bedouin have to cope with the process of urbanization - the very antithesis of their nomadic tradition - and the attending poverty and crime rate;
* the Bedouin to some extent fail to distinguish between objective difficulties and those connected with their changing sub-culture and thus feel an exaggerated sense of deprivation.

This phrase leaps out at me:

the transition from a traditional, conservative society which only a generation ago was nomadic, entails relinquishing values, customs

Why does it entail relinquishing values and customs? Which ones? Isn't this a little disengenuous, given that Orthodox Jews aren't being told to give up theirs, nor are any other Jews from other outlooks.

Posted by: I don't know but I found this: | April 10, 2007 11:52 AM

My wife and I know a couple that uses the Natural Family Planning method.

They have been married for about 3 years and they currently have two children, both described as "oops".

As for me, I'll never understand how it's possible to have an "oops" when you are not using birth control. I mean, you weren't using birth control and you were having sex. What, exactly, did you expect to happen?

Scary thing: these are the type of fundamentalists who want to control the country's sex ed curriculum. They are nice people, but you can be certain that I have taught my daughter that "Planning" is *NOT* birth control.

Posted by: Bob | April 10, 2007 11:52 AM

Sorry, it was written by Dr. Yosef Ben-David and can be found on the Jewish virtual library.

It's hardly comprehensive, but it's a start.

Posted by: oops | April 10, 2007 11:53 AM

Bob: you know what they call people who use NFP, right?

Parents.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 11:53 AM

I'm not Chiclet, but I will say that, to me, I find public displays of religious devotion in typically non-religious settings (like work) somewhat off-putting, regardless of the religion itself. So, I wouldn't be put off by a prayer group that meets in a conference room, but one that gathers in the lunch room would skeeve me out a bit.

I will also say, though, that I find myself being more put off by those religions that make prosyletization and evangelicism a central tenet of their religion. It colors public displays for me.

Posted by: JS | April 10, 2007 11:55 AM

Dave: most orthodox jewish people I know will shake hands with the opposite sex so as to not embarrass them-what you speak of is unusual.

As to citizens of israel- one needs to prove that one is jewish, but all jews can become citizens of the jewish state. All citizens have the same rights(muslim, jewish, christian , bedouin, whatever) though.

And whoever said that we don't have laws re women in burkas-there are many muslims who would like to see that here. Don't fool yourself.

Posted by: atlmom | April 10, 2007 11:56 AM

WE have several very religious people at my job that are so aggravating. One told me that my marriage was not going to be a real marriage because I wasn't getting married in a church. I don't even know how she found about it since I didn't spend much time talking about my wedding at work. Did I need that? Keep your opinions about what I am doing to yourself, please.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:56 AM

"As to citizens of israel- one needs to prove that one is jewish, but all jews can become citizens of the jewish state. All citizens have the same rights(muslim, jewish, christian , bedouin, whatever) though."

Wait a second, you have to be Jewish to be a citizen. How can you have non-Jewish citizens?

Posted by: Huh? | April 10, 2007 11:57 AM

"Baptizing infants (in the Catholic church) is really not odd if you consider the reasons behind it."

Infant baptism and idol worship are strictly against the teachings of my faith and the Bible.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 11:58 AM

"And whoever said that we don't have laws re women in burkas-there are many muslims who would like to see that here."

There are many christians who would like to see that as well--figuratively as well as literally.

Posted by: anon | April 10, 2007 11:58 AM

Roselle Tekiner wrote an article about Israel's Two-Tiered Citizenship Law. Does it still apply?

Posted by: BL | April 10, 2007 11:59 AM

WE have several very religious people at my job that are so aggravating. One told me that my marriage was not going to be a real marriage because I wasn't getting married in a church. I don't even know how she found about it since I didn't spend much time talking about my wedding at work. Did I need that? Keep your opinions about what I am doing to yourself, please.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 11:56 AM

This is not about religious belief; this is about a failure to appreciate social boundaries. Were I a betting woman, I'd wager $5 that the person commenting on the legality of your marriage also comments on the propriety of anchovies on your pizza, and whether the knife you used for the peanut butter can be summarily inserted in the jelly jar, or whether it is more sanitary to use two knives. No topic, regardless of how significant or insignificant passes without his or her comment. We all know these types.

Religious beliefs and belief systems are not the problem. Adherents of same, poor judgment, and poor social skills often is.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 12:01 PM

I'm wondering how parents (and other family members) -- both within religious frameworks and secularly -- are explaining to their children about the fallout from Don Imus's remarks about the Rutgers women's basketball team. It's no longer possible to protect children from hearing such words in today's world. You might want to read Eugene Robinson's thoughtful column in today's edition:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/09/AR2007040901003.html

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 12:02 PM

"Wait a second, you have to be Jewish to be a citizen. How can you have non-Jewish citizens?"

No, all Jews can become citizens. Not all citizens must be Jews.

All cats are mammals. Not all mammals are cats.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:03 PM

I wasn't ignoring the comment. I said "religious" and to me that word is inclusive of all religions, whether you worship Allah, God, G-d, whatever. I don't think it's appropriate to worship your God unless you are in a place of worship or you are by yourself or with others whom you KNOW are comfortable with it (for example, praying at Thanksgiving at the table, etc.) If it were up to me, it would be banned from the workplace at a minimum.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:05 PM

Megan's Neighbor -- you made a wonderful, valid point, and you were hilarious. Thanks so much for making me smile and nod!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 12:05 PM

"And whoever said that we don't have laws re women in burkas-there are many muslims who would like to see that here."

I wonder what they think of Laila Ali, boxer and Dancing With The Stars contestant in skimpy outfits.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:07 PM

"If it were up to me, it would be banned from the workplace at a minimum."

Looks like the anti-religious want to take away the freedoms our forfathers fought so hard and died for.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:08 PM

Have you noticed that this blog contains a direct link to the "On Parenting Blog" but not the other way? Is this just a marketing gambit?

Posted by: Trying to Change the Subject | April 10, 2007 12:09 PM

I wonder what they think of Laila Ali, boxer and Dancing With The Stars contestant in skimpy outfits.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 12:07 PM

She has a disturbingly low voice, are we sure she is in fact a "she."

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:11 PM

Megan's Neighbor wrote: "No topic, regardless of how significant or insignificant passes without his or her comment. We all know these types."

Yes.

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 12:12 PM

If it were up to me, it (worship) would be banned from the workplace at a minimum.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:05 PM

I'd like to ban intolerant people, you are the first. See ya!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:13 PM

I don't think it's appropriate to worship your God unless you are in a place of worship or you are by yourself or with others whom you KNOW are comfortable with it (for example, praying at Thanksgiving at the table, etc.) If it were up to me, it would be banned from the workplace at a minimum.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:05 PM

1890s America: "No Irish need apply" .

1940s America: "No Catholics need apply".

1950s America: "No Colored need apply".

2000s America: "No Muslims need apply".

How far we've come. Don't ask; don't tell, if you believe in Allah.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:13 PM

"Looks like the anti-religious want to take away the freedoms our forfathers fought so hard and died for."

No, but they would like you to learn how to spell forefathers and clean up your grammar!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:14 PM

"And if the parents are agnostics or atheists?"

Then they need to explain that. Kids will appreciate having an explanation on hand when a classmate asks why they don't go to church. An age-appropriate explanation will save them an awkward situation.

Posted by: catmommy | April 10, 2007 12:15 PM

Back at you, Arlington Dad:>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 12:17 PM

To MN: Eek, I know you didn't intend it this way (nor did I), but my concurring with your comment could be construed by some of our more literal snarkers as, well, you know...

Also, we all know these types not only in the workplace but also in the family tree -- aaarrrrggghhh!

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 12:18 PM

I find the reason I go to church is for the peace and beauty. I don't hold to the christian beliefs but it nice to go somewhere I am not beat up all the time. At work people go out of their way to make nasty comments about what I eat for lunch, what I wear, my car being a mini van, how I dress my kids, where I live and anything else they can think of to put me down. I read some blogs and they are nasty too. At church everyone is on their good behavior. It is nice for a change. I also get a great sermon that isn't too holy. Our minister is pretty modern and doesn't want to use church to scare people but to make them think. What is wrong with that?

Posted by: Not Busy | April 10, 2007 12:20 PM

Just for the record, I love God and have no problem with organized religion.

Religion in the workplace makes people uncomfortable unless they believe the same things in the same way. I went to a company "holiday" lunch where one of the Directors prayed in the name of Christ. I was sitting next to a Jewish woman. Another woman left Christian leaflets in the breakroom and has been spoken to about "witnessing" to other employees.

I am not alone in my belief that religion does not belong in the workplace.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM

Who knew common sense equaled racism.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM

catlady: understood, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 12:24 PM

"According to you they are both intolerant. She didn't respect his belief and he didn't respect hers. Sounds like a draw to me."

I do not consider the orthodox woman to be intolerant. She is entitled to not be, what for her is, assaulted. Shaking hands is an act of volition---she could and probably did politely decline and say that in her community, women cannot shake hands with me. Then it is encumbant upon the male to respect that without throwing a fit. He doesn't need to apologize or any such thing--she does live in a community where shaking hands is a custom and it is encumbant upon her to respectfully and politely decline.

The big southern guy sounds like an intolerant bully.

Posted by: to to Dave | April 10, 2007 12:24 PM

"No, but they would like you to learn how to spell forefathers and clean up your grammar!!"

Now you've reduced the anti-religious to the level of the spelling police.

I bet you can drag them lower, but it may require a little more thought.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:25 PM

Mona and Megan's Neighbor - love all your comments today :)

I am not quite sure how to reconcile in my mind all the negative comments today. I am sad that the actions of some religious organizations/factions/groups/denominations have led so many to brand "religion" itself as wrong/evil/intolerant/etc.

I completely understand the frustration from people who don't want to have "others forcing their beliefs on me" - but I am kind of surprised with the strength of that vehemence where it relates to religious beliefs specifically. While I disagree with many tenets of different denominations, I have sympathy for people trying to convert me, and others. I find that I, too, try to convert/convince people - to recycle, to turn off their lights when they're not home, that they might love spinach if they tried preparing it a different way ... I hope I am not pushy, and I hope I am not offending anyone, but I think plenty of public discourse IS about changing people's minds, not just about religion, but about any number of other topics. And as much as I might disagree with the message, I try to see the interactions as a chance to change other people's minds a little bit, even while I know they are trying to change mine.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 12:25 PM

"I find the reason I go to church is for the peace and beauty. I don't hold to the christian beliefs but it nice to go somewhere I am not beat up all the time. At work people go out of their way to make nasty comments about what I eat for lunch, what I wear, my car being a mini van, how I dress my kids, where I live and anything else they can think of to put me down."

Not Busy, that sounds like a wonderful reason to go to church, and I'm glad it provides you with such a respite. How awful to work with people who treat you so poorly - I hope your situation improves.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 12:25 PM

Megan's Neighbor wrote: "No topic, regardless of how significant or insignificant passes without his or her comment. We all know these types."

Oh yes, I have one that works for me. She never fails to interject her own opinion, viewpoint, personal anecdote, etc, into the conversation, whether it is valid or not. Often it is with a religious slant as well.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 12:28 PM

John Lennon didn't die of drugs. He was murdered by a crazy.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:29 PM

I'm with Chiclet and I don't understand why people of faith (any faith) can't see that not everyone believes what they believe -- and that's not a bad thing. I don't think she or he is being intolerant. What if someone's religion meant they had to breastfeed in front of you three times a day, even during working hours. Would this be allowed?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:33 PM

Lennon's brain was dead long before he was, just look who he married.

Posted by: Yoko | April 10, 2007 12:33 PM

I am not alone in my belief that religion does not belong in the workplace.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM

Skinheads, racists, anti-semites also are not alone in their beliefs. Since when does the company of other intolerant people make a position valid?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:34 PM

I am not alone in my belief that religion does not belong in the workplace.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM


Did you complain? Did anyone complain? Was a policy broken, and if not, how do you go about putting one in place so that this doesn't happen again?

Again, you were offended and rather then speak up and correct what was in my opinion as well, an error in judgement at your holiday party, you propose a ban. I call that extreme, unnecesary and spineless.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:34 PM

"I find that I, too, try to convert/convince people - to recycle, to turn off their lights when they're not home, that they might love spinach if they tried preparing it a different way ... I hope I am not pushy, and I hope I am not offending anyone, but I think plenty of public discourse IS about changing people's minds, not just about religion, but about any number of other topics."

TakomaMom, thanks for a thoughtful post. I agree with you that much of our discourse is about sharing viewpoints and changing minds. But I also think there is value in distinguishing between discourse that is invited and that which is not. I have strong views about a lot of issues, but I will rarely initiate a discussion about them with someone I don't know. Although I have been a vegetarian for 15 years, I do not initiate discussions about diet or the reasons for my choices. If someone asks me, I will happily explain and have a discussion. But when I sit down to eat lunch with my coworkers I would never comment on or start challenging their food choices.

It's not that I think people should not speak up about what they care about, but I just think there are times and places and ways of doing so that are appropriate and some that are not.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 12:36 PM

What Megan said.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 12:38 PM

Takoma Mom, I'm sure your heart is in the right place, but it is not your job to change my mind about my religion (or my spinach-eating) because it is not your business. You don't need to "fix" me--just because my religion isn't yours doesn't mean it's broken.

Posted by: JS | April 10, 2007 12:38 PM

Where I live, in the last 10 years or so, it has become common to see businesses including the Christian fish symbol in their advertisements
---------------------------------------------

For the same reasons as gays put a rainbow up on their places of business.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:39 PM

"What if someone's religion meant they had to breastfeed in front of you three times a day"

No wunder why you are with Chiclet, this is the stupidest thing I've seen posted all day!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:40 PM

"Let's just say that on this day, a million years ago, a dude was born who most of us think was magic. But others don't, and that's cool. But we're probably right. Amen." - Homer Simpson

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:41 PM

"I find that I, too, try to convert/convince people - to recycle, to turn off their lights when they're not home, that they might love spinach if they tried preparing it a different way ... I hope I am not pushy, and I hope I am not offending anyone, but I think plenty of public discourse IS about changing people's minds, not just about religion, but about any number of other topics."

TakomaMom - this is a very interesting comment. I have encountered quite a few recycling police and public transit police ("Why don't you carpool or ride the metro?") in my workplace, and never thought to blame the environmental movement for the behavior of a couple of (to me) annoying zealots. Putting religious beliefs in the same bucket as other somewhat controversial topics, e.g., environmental racism, historical preservation, gentrification, about which many of us seek to shape public opinion, makes sense to me.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 12:42 PM

I am not alone in my belief that religion does not belong in the workplace.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM


Did you complain? Did anyone complain? Was a policy broken, and if not, how do you go about putting one in place so that this doesn't happen again?

Again, you were offended and rather then speak up and correct what was in my opinion as well, an error in judgement at your holiday party, you propose a ban. I call that extreme, unnecesary and spineless.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:34 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Maybe she was just exhibiting some tolerance?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:42 PM

TakomaMom

Has anyone ever changed their mind about religion because of a post on Leslie's blog????????????????????

Posted by: lolita | April 10, 2007 12:43 PM

Yes, I agree with everyone who said I should shut up when not solicited :)
I am, of course, talking about those instances where I AM asked about something - no, I do not go around the office telling people to eat spinach (actually, I'm not a big fan of spinach, but was trying to think of another example) :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 12:46 PM

Of course, you can argue that people who aren't environmentally conscious are having an impact on TakomaMom by screwing up the planet they share, but people with different religious beliefs (or spinach views) have no impact on her at all.

I still agree with Megan, though, that it's all about context and timing.

Posted by: JS | April 10, 2007 12:46 PM

spinach is me religion!

Posted by: Popeye | April 10, 2007 12:47 PM

Somedays you just have to pick your battles. Is it worth making an issue of the person next to bowing their head before they eat today?
Does it affect you?
I would think that the telling of a sexist joke or making a racial slur would be a more worthy windmill to tilt at(provided you are offended).

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 12:47 PM

Lolita - I can't possibly know what happens in everyone's mind who reads Leslie's blog - but I can say that I have had portions of my own beliefs clarified/challenged/solidified because of things others have said - including in online discussions.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 12:48 PM

Maybe she was just exhibiting some tolerance?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 12:42 PM

Chiclet is complaining on a blog but does she have the gumption to take it up with her employer, where is belongs?

I have a feeling this is not the first ban she has proposed.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:50 PM

"Where I live, in the last 10 years or so, it has become common to see businesses including the Christian fish symbol in their advertisements
-------------------------------------------For the same reasons as gays put a rainbow up on their places of business."

Thanks to both posters who responded. Do you really think this is the same though? My understanding of the rainbow symbol is that it essentially means "you will not be harrased here," which makes sense given how unwelcome gay people have been in some places. There is certainly no history of such treatment of Christians where I live (I know this is not true everywhere, but it is here).

The idea given by the first response, that of particular communities trying to support each other economically, is slightly different and to me raises so interesting questions. Is it really harmless to choose what businesses to patronize based on religion (regardless of what religion you are choosing)? In the town I grew up in, one of the more extreme christian churches tried to organize a boycott of one of the only jewish-owned stores in that community. Aren't they two sides of the same coin?

I really don't know the answers here - I have certainly supported movements to use purchasing power to advance goal,s such as avoiding things made with child labor, supporting businesses with better environmental policies etc. And yet, although I can't articulate exactly why, bringing religion into those decisions makes me uncomfortable and seems different.

Anyway, I do appreciate your responses, it's something I have been thinking about when I see those signs.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 12:50 PM

"Is it worth making an issue of the person next to bowing their head before they eat today?"

Only when they grab my hand. I then very politely tell them to let go, or I get to keep it.

And I still want the Mormons who keep wandering up my driveway, despite the "No Trespassing" signs to heed my statements of "Go away--do not come back!"

Posted by: Virginia | April 10, 2007 12:51 PM

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/04/09/AR2007040901256.html?hpid=moreheadlines

Today's WaPo includes an article on an incident involving a Muslim physician humiliated by a security guard as he attempted to engage in a washing ritual which, in his religion, is necessary to complete prior to prayer.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 12:52 PM

I have a feeling this is not the first ban she has proposed.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:50 PM

Spinach is next.

Posted by: Olive Oil | April 10, 2007 12:54 PM

I am not alone in my belief that religion does not belong in the workplace.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 12:23 PM

I'm going give a hearty Amen to chiclet (pun intended) and add that people selling crap for their kids does not belong in the workplace either. How about we keep work about work?

Posted by: Need no "religion" | April 10, 2007 12:55 PM

To 9:43am:

I don't think 9:33 disproved anything. Every institution on the planet, religious or otherwise, can be used by (flawed) people for their own gain. "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely." By your own logic, we should get rid of government altogether - just look at how political leaders of all stripes manipulate and use the institution for their own gain!

****************************

People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 09:33 AM

EXACTLY!!! You just proved my point (and interestingly, disproved your own)- why should one be institutionlaized by a church??? why can't one be spiritual on their own?? people are flawed- so why follow a church led by a MAN?? Why follow something led by people?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 09:43 AM

Posted by: Harvard Square | April 10, 2007 1:00 PM

"How about we keep work about work?"

That's not what you want. What you want is to limit work conversation to topics in which you have an interest. Like: your kids, your grandchildren, your spouse, your garden, the Terps, the Redskins, that club you want to last Friday, your favorite cocktails, the town you came from, your father's surgery.

Please, people. The denizens of this blog bore everyone in their offices ad nauseum about their precious children.

Be honest. You don't want to hear about religious beliefs but every other topic is A-OK. You are bigots of a different stripe and don't want to admit it.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:00 PM

"and add that people selling crap for their kids does not belong in the workplace either. How about we keep work about work?"

I refuse to hawk wares at work, nor do I let my kids come and hassle my co-workers. How much more gift wrap, or cookies, or whatever do any of us really need or want?

Posted by: MdMother | April 10, 2007 1:01 PM

I'm going give a hearty Amen to chiclet (pun intended) and add that people selling crap for their kids does not belong in the workplace either. How about we keep work about work?

Posted by: Need no "religion" | April 10, 2007 12:55 PM

You sound like a barrel of monkeys, fun all the time.

I am going to ban you to the "DO NOT OFFEND ISLAND" with all the other nitwits that can't just say no to a kid with a candybar or speak up about improper behavior. It's not religion you need but a set of cajones.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:01 PM

Could I know if all the atheists, agnostics former Catholics out there on the blog today have disavowed Satan?

Just curious. I am keeping a list.

P.S. Islanders fans: Your player pronouced Zhi-Tan rocks!

Posted by: Beelzebub | April 10, 2007 1:02 PM

Please, people. The denizens of this blog bore everyone in their offices ad nauseum about their precious children.

Don't you have to get ready for your waitressing job, Diane?

Posted by: to the all-knowing | April 10, 2007 1:03 PM

I just wish I could say no to a candy bar! No kid needed.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 1:03 PM

Virginia,
There is a big difference between taking a silent moment alone and grabbing hands. I was talking a brief bowing of the head. If someone grabbed my hands as I was about to eat I too would be upset as I would have to get up and wash again.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 1:03 PM

I believe in science.

Posted by: eskeleto | April 10, 2007 1:06 PM

It's not religion you need but a set of cajones.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:01 PM
Maybe its you that is entirely devoid of class and needs a lesson in consideration of others? Maybe if you thought for one moment about how your actions affect others we wouldn't need to have this conversation. I don't talk about my religious beliefs and ask people to buy junk from my kids because I am being considerate. Its not about cojones (classy term by the way) it is about class or rather, lack thereof.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:08 PM

Don't you have to get ready for your waitressing job, Diane?

Posted by: to the all-knowing | April 10, 2007 01:03 PM

On what planet is it socially acceptable to slam people doing an honest days work just because that work doesn't require a suit and an office?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:08 PM

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:00 PM

You think the blog police are bad, imagine having tweedle-dee (chiclet) and tweedle-dum (need no religion) in your office. Listening in on conversations with a whistle and red flag, the when a package of flowery paper is sighted or exclamation of the Lord is heard they swoop in and send the offender to be "re-educated."

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:09 PM

People are flawed (religious or not) and religions are made up of these flawed people.

Posted by: Regular but anonymous | April 10, 2007 09:33 AM

EXACTLY!!! You just proved my point (and interestingly, disproved your own)- why should one be institutionlaized by a church??? why can't one be spiritual on their own?? people are flawed- so why follow a church led by a MAN?? Why follow something led by people?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 09:43 AM

I agree with "Regular but anonymous" on this one. To "anonymous", that is part of the same problem that Regular has shared with us. People should seek a place of worship to worship God, not man. One of the flaws of people is to misdirect that worship to the person that leads the church, a pastor, priest, etc. One can be spiritual on his/her own. But Paul also emphasized the importance the unity of all members of the body of Christ in 1 Cor 12. Worshipping in church is not the problem; worshipping people in the church shows misdirection.

Posted by: curious nonmother | April 10, 2007 1:11 PM

But Paul also emphasized the importance the unity of all members of the body of Christ in 1 Cor 12.

And if a person doesn't believe in Paul's teachings?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:15 PM

It's disappointing that any discussion of religious beliefs on this blog quickly becomes an attack on organized religion and people of faith. I know we go off topic on this blog, but we seem to always go off topic the exact same way anytime someone mentions religion.

The question posed by the author today is, IF you have a set of religious beliefs, HOW do you communicate them to your children.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 1:16 PM

Beelzebub, I haven't disavowed Satan because I don't believe in him/her/it.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 1:18 PM

"when a package of flowery paper is sighted"

?? Is flowery paper religious?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:19 PM

The question posed by the author today is, IF you have a set of religious beliefs, HOW do you communicate them to your children

Take that one step further Arlington dad to address how to teach your children tolerance for other people while still being true to their beliefs.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 1:19 PM

tickles

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:23 PM

I personally believe that a big reason that adolescents are running wild today with little or no moral structure to there lives is the breakdown of the neighborhood religious community. In my mom's day, families went to church every Sunday, imparting a set of religious and community values to their children. Parents today seem more fond of having their kids eat cereal and watch cartoons on weekend mornings ...

A lot of people seem to think that morality can exist in a vaccuum. For example, the "don't have sex"/"respect your elders"/"nothing is free in life" messages tend to get lost, and people chock it up to adolescent hormones or teenage rebellion. Well, adolescents have had hormones for thousands of years, yet it is only within the past 40 years or so that we see unfettered teenage sexuality and backtalk to adults. So ... either teens today have a whole lot more estrogen and testosterone than every other generation that has existed in the past couple of thousand years, or something else has changed. Personally, I believe that it's the value system that many parents no longer impart to their kids because they are too busy, disinterested or lazy. Say what you want to about the ills of religion, but it provides a moral and behavioral structure for kids. To this end, DH and I now attend church every Sunday and bring our daughter to expose her to the kind of upbringing we would like her to have.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:24 PM

"little or no moral structure to there lives"

grrrrrrrrr .... "their." Darn typos!! :(

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:25 PM

"Well, adolescents have had hormones for thousands of years, yet it is only within the past 40 years or so that we see unfettered teenage sexuality and backtalk to adults."

We don't get them married off/knocked up by the time they are 19, for starters.

Posted by: to student mom | April 10, 2007 1:25 PM

Read through most of this, and yes, the following question has not really been addressed:

"The question posed by the author today is, IF you have a set of religious beliefs, HOW do you communicate them to your children."

Many posters have said by example - which is excellent. I too believe that. The book Lucinda cited above about religious illiteracy is of particular interest to me because as I get older (a-hem!) I realize how much I do not know. Perhaps my kids and I can learn together - which would enforce their belief all the more. Our kids go to Sunday school but it does not replace the day to day teaching.

Posted by: cmac | April 10, 2007 1:26 PM

Thanks Scarry. I agree that we all need to teach our children tolerance, regardless of what our opinions of religion are. That's a big theme -- whether or not we're teaching our kids that "God loves everyone" or that our Founding Fathers built this country so that everyone can be equal.

My opinion is that the folks who scoff and think the churchgoers are "idiots" and just as wrong as the churchgoers who frown on the "sinners" who don't go to services. Although I think theres a disproportionate number of those who scoff at the churchgoers on this blog.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 1:26 PM

"when a package of flowery paper is sighted"

?? Is flowery paper religious?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:19 PM

It is sold by horrid, over-bearing parents in offices for their children's activities.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:28 PM

Personally, I believe that it's the value system that many parents no longer impart to their kids because they are too busy, disinterested or lazy.

Bwaah-ha-ha-ha.

Quite the know-it-all today, aren't we dear? You've raised how many children? Been asked for your vast experience and wisdom on how many OTHER people's children and their behaviours?

How long have you been the be-all, end-all of parenting?

Quick everyone! StudentMom and her daughter are coming through! Genuflect!

Posted by: Great-grandmom | April 10, 2007 1:28 PM

"My understanding of the rainbow symbol is that it essentially means "you will not be harrased here," which makes sense given how unwelcome gay people have been in some places."

Nope. A rainbow in a store window means that the store is gay-friendly and likely gay-owned. If it's not overtly gay-themed, it's likely gay-owned.

Odin (or Zeus, since he would win) help all of us if we come to the day when I have to go ONLY to stores with rainbow stickers to not be harassed.

I'm gay, a taxpayer, and becoming more and more disenfranchised in the state where I live. Because the reasons for this are couched in terms of religion, I'm not a fan of organized religion. I don't mind hearing about what someone believes if we're having a conversation; it's interesting. But I want religious beliefs kept out of public policy.

Posted by: Historian | April 10, 2007 1:29 PM

to Huh?

All jews are citizens, but not all citizens are jews. There is no prerequisite to be jewish to be a citizen (unlike the muslim states, some of which I cannot even visit as a tourist). There are muslims, christians, etc who serve in the israeli parliament.

Does that answer your question?

Posted by: atlmom | April 10, 2007 1:29 PM

// personally believe that a big reason that adolescents are running wild today with little or no moral structure to there lives is the breakdown of the neighborhood religious community.//

in other words, only we have values, the rest of you bring down society. Very nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:31 PM

To anonymous at 1:15: If a person does not agree with Paul's teachings, he/she may still feel a need to worship at church. The old testament has many chapters devoted to the importance of keeping the temple and worshipping at the temple. The temple was a place designated by God to worship in. So, a person could not follow Paul, or the New Testament at all and still believe in going to church, but be misdirected on whom to worship.

I'm not saying that it is right or wrong to worship in a church. This topic is something that I have dealt with for many years. I am coming to see the benefits of worshipping in the church and feel that that is the way that the Bible instructs me to worship. I know, from experience, that others don't feel the same way. All must do what they believe the Lord has told them to do as far as worship. I'm not going to say that they are wrong.

Posted by: curious nonmother | April 10, 2007 1:32 PM

Before today, The words "church", "synagog", "religion", "religious", "faith" and "pray" appear in 1074 posts by 525 different contributors.

10 Mona
11 KLB SS MD
11 Laura
11 Lou
11 Meesh
12 momof4
14 pittypat
17 cmac
20 Megan
21 Emily
25 scarry
32 Father of 4
34 Megan's Neighbor
49 foamgnome

Posted by: Blog Stats | April 10, 2007 1:32 PM

To this end, DH and I now attend church every Sunday and bring our daughter to expose her to the kind of upbringing we would like her to have.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:24 PM


Didn't my parents have just as much right NOT to go to church, and to raise THEIR children according to THEIR views? Or is "family values" only for believers like you?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:35 PM

Arlington Dad, I will bite, mostly because I am mortified that my previous posts have managed to convey the impression that I am THAT person, who goes around telling strangers and acquaintenances how to live their lives "right" - and that's not really what I meant to say!

My reason in taking my son to church is for the faith community - several people today have spoken quite eloquently about that, including the guest blogger. I think a lot of people do feel disconnected from their neighborhood communities, and live far from their friends and families, and a faith community is something that fills that void. I think the faith community is separate from a person's individual relationship with God (or whoever/whatever/or the lack thereof). I have talked to my son about the difference - that his personal beliefs about the existence of a deity are formed both in and outside church, and can be practiced in and outside church. The faith community, on the other hand, helps people come together to do good works in the world and support each other, and that is why I encourage him to take part. Yes, that type of community can exist outside a church, but if your beliefs are consistent with those of a particular denomination/organization, then why not join that community?

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 1:36 PM

"personally believe that a big reason that adolescents are running wild today with little or no moral structure to there lives is the breakdown of the neighborhood religious community"

Well, it's nice to see that you haven't overlooked the precept of "humility" today, dearie.

You haven't encountered many preachers kids, have you? The number of them who go absolutely bonkers on college campuses and wind up in AA/NA, etc. is pretty staggering.

"Freedom! Terrible freedom!" (from "The Simpsons" episode where the ants are floating around in the space shuttle)

Posted by: to Student Mom | April 10, 2007 1:37 PM

Wow, a lot of Christian-haters here .... well, it's the Post, I guess I shouldn't be *too* surprised ;) Maybe I shoulda said I was Muslim or Wiccan or was raising DD with my gay lover or something, then y'all would be too PC to criticize me.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:37 PM

"I personally believe that a big reason that adolescents are running wild today with little or no moral structure to there lives is the breakdown of the neighborhood religious community. In my mom's day, families went to church every Sunday, imparting a set of religious and community values to their children. Parents today seem more fond of having their kids eat cereal and watch cartoons on weekend mornings ... "

StudentMom, perhaps if your posts didn't always have the tone that you are the only mom or parent in the world who is on the straight and narrow path, they wouldn't be so irritating.

"In my mom's day, X", and "parents today" generalizations are neither accurate or helpful. Churches are thriving in my community and we have the neighborhood structure you describe. Strong religious beliefs and conduct consistent with those beliefs -- not just attendance on Sunday -- is the norm in my community. Our friends, neighbors and acquaintances act today just as you describe people acting in your mom's day. If you open your eyes instead of getting all your information from the TV, you might see belief and structure all around you. If not, move to a community more consistent with the beliefs you espouse.

I'm glad you've recently decided, along with DH, to attend a church. My husband and I have been doing so for years, long before we had kids. If you keep attending a little longer, you might bump into a sermon on the Beatitudes. Blessed are the meek.

Posted by: anon for today | April 10, 2007 1:38 PM

Curious nonmother, some of us don't take our life instructions from the Bible, therefore it doesn't matter what it says.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:40 PM

To this end, DH and I now attend church every Sunday and bring our daughter to expose her to the kind of upbringing we would like her to have.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:24 PM


Didn't my parents have just as much right NOT to go to church, and to raise THEIR children according to THEIR views? Or is "family values" only for believers like you?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:35 PM

Aren't you supposed to be out, roaming the streets and wreaking havoc? That's what Student Mom says you would be doing without organized religion to set you straight!

After all, religious people always follow the straight and narrow path. Christians never hurt other Christians. Just ask anyone who lived in northern Ireland not so long ago!

Posted by: Silly! | April 10, 2007 1:41 PM

"Curious nonmother, some of us don't take our life instructions from the Bible, therefore it doesn't matter what it says."

Oh come on, a good quote is a good quote. Somebody posted some Beatles' lyrics. I'm not a huge Beatles fan, but the message made a point.

Posted by: Arligton Dad | April 10, 2007 1:42 PM

Oh dear, it's "anon for today" ... too bad it's not "gone for everyday" :(

Grrr where's the blist function when you really need one??!!

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:43 PM

Wow, a lot of Christian-haters here .... well, it's the Post, I guess I shouldn't be *too* surprised ;) Maybe I shoulda said I was Muslim or Wiccan or was raising DD with my gay lover or something, then y'all would be too PC to criticize me.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:37 PM


If you were trying to tell us to raise our kids those other ways, we wouldn't put up with it, either. Neither would you.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:44 PM

I am an Druid myself!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:45 PM

Hey, Druid, let's meet up at Stonehenge for the summer solstice, OK?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:47 PM

To anon at 1:45pm ... maybe so, but are you hewn into the living rock of Stone'enge?

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:48 PM

"Wow, a lot of Christian-haters here ...."

Actually, StudentMom, I think some of the strong reaction to your post comes from your attitude, not your religion. You do seem to imply that anyone who is not part of an organized religion cannot be moral or ethical, which, not surprisingly, is offensive to some people.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 1:49 PM

Wow, a lot of Christian-haters here .... well, it's the Post, I guess I shouldn't be *too* surprised ;) Maybe I shoulda said I was Muslim or Wiccan or was raising DD with my gay lover or something, then y'all would be too PC to criticize me.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:37 PM

If you were trying to tell us to raise our kids those other ways, we wouldn't put up with it, either. Neither would you.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:44 PM

As long as you aren't insisting that this is the only way, the only RIGHT way, to raise everyone's child, I wouldn't give a flying f@rt in a hurricane.

But that's not what you are doing.

Did you overlook something in your Bible? Like, "The meek shall inherit the earth" for example?

That's okay. Maybe your daughter will be a normal kid and you can eat some humble pie. It tastes better with humility, by the way.

Posted by: to Student Mom | April 10, 2007 1:50 PM

You do seem to imply that anyone who is not part of an organized religion cannot be moral or ethical, which, not surprisingly, is offensive to some people.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 01:49 PM

I didn't see where she implied it--she stated it outright.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:51 PM

I pine for the day! (solstice)

Posted by: 1:45 | April 10, 2007 1:51 PM

To anon at 1:45pm ... maybe so, but are you hewn into the living rock of Stone'enge?

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:48 PM


What's THAT supposed to mean?

Posted by: Hunh? | April 10, 2007 1:52 PM

" didn't see where she implied it--she stated it outright.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:51 PM "

LOL - I am trying to give her the benefit of the doubt, since I do believe in doing that in spite of the my lack of religion.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 1:53 PM

Churchgoing Christians have a significantly reduced rate of divorce than their nonparticipating counterparts.

The nonparticipating Christians have a divorce rate that is the same as people who don't identify themselves with any religious affiliation.

Posted by: Responsible Christian | April 10, 2007 1:53 PM

"You haven't encountered many preachers kids, have you?"

Mary Winkler, the minister's wife who is charged with killing her husband, is a preacher's kid.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:53 PM

That day (solstice) is set in stone in my heart.

Posted by: 1:45 | April 10, 2007 1:54 PM

"You haven't encountered many preachers kids, have you?"

Mary Winkler, the minister's wife who is charged with killing her husband, is a preacher's kid.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 01:53 PM


See, no divorce!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:55 PM

As an anthrolopogy (cultural) major, I always looked for universals in societies and cultures throughout time and place. There were a few, but believing in a higher power and spirit was always a characteristic of a society. Obviously, this took on many forms. It made me cynical about the more organizaed religions, as they seemed more interested in controlling believers than enlightening them, but also made me aware that some part of human nature - or societal nature, craves a belief system based on an unprovable power. I had a hard time finding a church where I felt comfortable. I am very fortunate that I tried a local Prebyterian church, where the Pastor talked about how Emmanuel Kant was right in his sermon. He was willing to face the challengers to religion, not as adversaries, but also enlightened people who had a different way of viewing God. While I do not believe in a lot of the myth of the christian religion, I feel uplifted and challenged by this man's teachings and beliefs. I am very comfortable with my children going to this chruch, learning the lessons and stories and asking a lot of questions. These are the reasons that a religious training might be very important to raising children. It provides a place as a family to talk about beliefs and faith on a different level than anywhere else.

Posted by: Former NoVa Mom | April 10, 2007 1:56 PM

Megan - No, what I said is that I believe morality/ethics cannot exist in a vaccuum. That's what I think, and I stand by it. There is one heck of a correlation between the deterioration of the community of faith in the US and behavioral problems with kids that we are apparently attempting to impart values to. Perhaps it's simply that today's parents are too busy to teach their kids values, but I think there's more to it than that. If you disagree, fine.

Sheesh people, it's not like I'm issuing Papal Bulls or something. You give your opinions, I give my opinions. It's that simple. Get over it already, all the shocked-and-appalled offense-taking is kinda pathetic ...

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 1:56 PM

Chiclet is complaining on a blog but does she have the gumption to take it up with her employer, where is belongs?

I have a feeling this is not the first ban she has proposed.

Posted by: anon for several reasons | April 10, 2007 12:50 PM

I'm in Human Resources, folks. And I will tell you that approximately 15-25% of the people who work for our company in any given year come to me or someone else in my department to complain about someone "being religious". It is an issue whether you like it or not, and whether you want to call me intolerant or ban happy, I'm on the receiving end of the complaints. And yes, I do take it up with the President and Board of the company when it's appropriate or a change needs to be made.

Here are some other examples:

Someone wanted to start a religious book group at work. The company already had a book group for employees that met monthly. Because this person raised such a stink about how we were discriminating against religions by allowing the one book group but not the other, all book groups were verboten.

An employee sent an "everyone" email asking people to get down on their knees and pray with her at a specific time of day to cast the devil out of everyone's hearts. The sheer volume of complaints we received in response to this message nearly crashed the server. Later that day, a policy was issued BANNING (oops, there's that word again) everyone from sending religious messages of any kind using the company's email system.

Stop pretending it isn't an issue. Saying religion doesn't belong in the workplace doesn't make a person intolerant.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 1:56 PM

That day (solstice) is set in stone in my heart.

Posted by: 1:45 | April 10, 2007 01:54 PM


What's THAT supposed to mean?

Posted by: Hunh? | April 10, 2007 1:56 PM

Chiclet is in Human Resources? uh-oh.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:59 PM

Wow, a lot of Christian-haters here .... well, it's the Post, I guess I shouldn't be *too* surprised ;) Maybe I shoulda said I was Muslim or Wiccan or was raising DD with my gay lover or something, then y'all would be too PC to criticize me.

Posted by: StudentMom | April 10, 2007 01:37 PM

StudentMom, your holier-than-thou comments give believers a bad name. Approach others with fewer assumptions and you will be a better mom.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:59 PM

"Churchgoing Christians have a significantly reduced rate of divorce than their nonparticipating counterparts."

Right, Mary Winkler skipped the divorce and killed her pastor husband!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 1:59 PM

"No, what I said is that I believe morality/ethics cannot exist in a vaccuum"

Yes, and this combined with the statement that you believe that the reason children and running wild with no morals is because of the breakdown in religious communities does imply that when you say "in a vaccum" you mean "without religion." I have no idea what you really mean, but I think it's disingenuous to act like anyone who takes offense at that implication is "Christian hater."

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 2:00 PM

"Say what you want to about the ills of religion, but it provides a moral and behavioral structure for kids. To this end, DH and I now attend church every Sunday and bring our daughter to expose her to the kind of upbringing we would like her to have."

I think this depends on the religion, the particular church you belong to, and the parents. I have seen plenty of churchgoing people who are pious and holy for a couple of hours on Sunday, but who seem to forget everything their church teaches on every other day of the week. I also think that people have been manipulated through religion to suit purposes that have nothing to do with god. For example, telling the poor that the meek will inherit the earth sure does sound handy, especially when those who are preaching it are the ones in power, and when those same people in power are doing very little to make better conditions of dire poverty that could improve the lives of so many people who look to them for guidance.

I second the point that religion is flawed, just as humans are flawed. While there may be wisdom to most religious beliefs, there is also the potential to twist religion into a tool to punish and oppress people who are different, or to take advantage of those who are weaker. I also don't believe for a millisecond that any particular religion or doctrine can have a monopoly on god. What arrogance. Religions that claim that they are the "only" way to god and salvation are the most offputting of all.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 2:01 PM

"Chiclet, you are still ignoring the issue of Muslim worship. Is it offensive to you for a Muslim to bow in the direction of Mecca several times daily, at specific times, in order to worship? Or is it only Christian prayer that offends you?"

If a Muslim needs to worship at a specific time and that time coincides with a scheduled meeting at work, they should be able to have the meeting rescheduled. I don't think it's necessary that they pray in the conference room with all present. It appears that each of the five daily prayers can take as little as ten minutes--I'm sure individual mileage may vary. I'd be happy to accommodate by rescheduling. My understanding is that the specific time of prayer is important and determined by the position of the sun.

As far as the need to pray before a meeting in general, please allow yourself time to do that before the meeting time. I don't have any qualms with someone taking a moment to give thanks before a meal, even if it is at work. Please don't ask others to join you in the workplace though.

No, chiclet, you are not alone.


Posted by: Marian | April 10, 2007 2:01 PM

Do you really not know about Stonehenge and its connection to the summer solstice?

Try Google!

Posted by: to huh? | April 10, 2007 2:01 PM

Yes, uh-oh. I defy any of you to work in Human Resources for a while and not understand that expressions of religion in the workplace cause PROBLEMS.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 2:02 PM

Former NOVA Mom said "I had a hard time finding a church where I felt comfortable."

I think that's the great thing about going to church today. You can accept the challenge and go out and find a church that meets your spiritual, intellectual, and social needs. You do not have to go to your parents' church, you do not have to go the church that is in walking distance, you do not have to go to the same church your neighbors do. Many of us don't like certain things about church -- but we have the freedom to chose a church where we are comfortable. The days of the masses thoughtlessly going to church and passively accepting the beliefs, rules, and judgments that are passed on to them by a "chosen man of God" are over in the United States. You can be smart and content in church, should you choose to be.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:02 PM

June 21, 2007

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:02 PM

we have the freedom to chose a church where we are comfortable.

Or not to attend at all.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:06 PM

If a Muslim needs to worship at a specific time and that time coincides with a scheduled meeting at work, they should be able to have the meeting rescheduled.

Yes, re-schedule the meeting. No one else is important.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:06 PM

to Takoma Mom: no, I haven't changed my religious beliefs because of a blog, but that wasn't the point. I have, however, gotten some interesting ideas (hidden amongst all the raving drivel)for how to interact with my child on the topic in age-appropriate and effective ways.

I think it's a great topic and I'm glad Leslie and Lucinda had the nerve to raise it; clearly it takes some thick skin, or lots of blood pressure medication, to prepare for the predictable onslaught here. Part of the reason I think it is an interesting topic is because it is so difficult to find balance in religious discussions these days (witness above comments). I was raised Baptist and was very active in that church for many years, but have found the recent trends in that church unacceptable for me. The most visible, vocal part of the denomination is, in my opinion, a poor representation of the essential tenets of its founding. That could also be said of many other faiths/denominations these days. My husband was raised Catholic and is avowedly not on board for most of its tenets, so the question of how to raise a child with some religious background actually go a lot of discussion at our home. Currently we are going to Catholic church - yes, with all the contradictions that means for us. I'm quite certain we are there far more regularly than most of the people I saw there on Easter. We had our son baptized, primarily because it made Grandma happy and we don't think it did him any harm. My parents didn't attend because they believe only a conscious decision should lead to one's baptism and thus it was a nonevent for them; I fully understood and respected that and was completely unoffended that they did not attend. It's a mixed bag at our house in terms of organized religion. We're okay with that, and in fact it may mean that we have more in-depth discussions about how to handle issues because nothing is 'a given'. Today's blog was helpful from that perspective -- providing child-appropriate structure in what is for us a less structured, highly nuanced approach. That is, achieveing balance.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:07 PM

An employee sent an "everyone" email asking people to get down on their knees and pray with her at a specific time of day to cast the devil out of everyone's hearts. The sheer volume of complaints we received in response to this message nearly crashed the server. Later that day, a policy was issued BANNING (oops, there's that word again) everyone from sending religious messages of any kind using the company's email system.

Stop pretending it isn't an issue. Saying religion doesn't belong in the workplace doesn't make a person intolerant.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 01:56 PM

Chiclet, Sorry. Your examples show once again that the issue is not religion in the workplace. Your workplace apparently does not have policies in place that bar office-wide messages irrelevant to 80% of the recipients. All workplace communications should be subject to e-mail policies that don't discriminate based on content. If it's okay for any Tom, Dick, or Gertrude to send a message to everyone in the office about March Madness, or Mary's new baby, or that traffic tie-up on 95, then you have a problem of non-work-related e-mail clutter regardless of the prayer.

If your employees had want to start a book group geared toward African-American authors, would you have reacted the way you did to the request for a book group targetting religious topics? I doubt it.

It really is all about religion for you. I'm glad you are not in PR in my company, because even if I agree with you, there's a way to address these workplace issues without focusing on the religious beliefs of the instigators.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:12 PM

Written by anon at 2;46pm
If a Muslim needs to worship at a specific time and that time coincides with a scheduled meeting at work, they should be able to have the meeting rescheduled.

Yes, re-schedule the meeting. No one else is important.

Ok - but the time we rescheduled it for is breast pump time for the manager so we rescheduled it.

Now that time isn't good because the dad who works part-time has a parent teacher meeting so we rescheduled it again.

But that time coincides with the fertility treatments of one of the lesbian partners who is now ovulation so we rescheduled it.

Posted by: DC lurker | April 10, 2007 2:12 PM

Religion - very good and very dangerous to expose as we raise our kids.

Very good - in that a lot of good morales we should follow are in the "good book".

Very dangerous - because of all the hypocrisy... that confuses our kids. Why does the Bible say divorce is bad, but you and Dad are divorced? Why does the Bible say be nice to other people, but I see our Youth Minister not being nice to other people.

Faith is a wonderful thing. Our kids have faith in adults to not be hypocrites. But unfortunately it is all around them.....

Posted by: C.W. | April 10, 2007 2:13 PM

StudentMom is not a student of history, for sure. Not only teenage and out of wedlock pregnancy was rampant before industrial revolution, girls married as early as 13-14 (read Shakespeare, if history books are too hard) and at least half of the babies died before age one, wait... reading is too hard too! Student? Maybe middle school student?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:15 PM

Ok - but the time we rescheduled it for is breast pump time for the manager so we rescheduled it.

Now that time isn't good because the dad who works part-time has a parent teacher meeting so we rescheduled it again.

But that time coincides with the fertility treatments of one of the lesbian partners who is now ovulation so we rescheduled it.

Those have nothing to do with religion that people want out of the work place.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:15 PM

to the Catholic / Baptist poster -- We're in the same boat! I'm the Baptist, and can't bear to support a demonination that has gotten so mean. But I learned a lot of great things in that church, and I bring that to my home and how I raise my children. My Catholic wife has even taking up praying (making it up) as opposed to saying prayers (memorized). And I enjoy the Catholic services with the loud din from all the kids who are welcome in the sanctuary. So we're learning from each other, and the kids are doing just fine!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 2:15 PM

2:07, thanks for a great post.

Takoma Mom, for the record, I didn't mean to imply that you were THAT person, just to add on to what you are saying. Based on your previous posts I can't imagine you being THAT way :)

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 2:17 PM

Anon at 2:12, I forwarded this comment you made to our labor lawyer (a good friend of mine) and we are having a laugh at your expense.

"Your workplace apparently does not have policies in place that bar office-wide messages irrelevant to 80% of the recipients. All workplace communications should be subject to e-mail policies that don't discriminate based on content."

It really is NOT all about religion for me. It is about protecting my company from lawsuits brought by employees. If someone wanted a book group of any kind other than a general book group (couldn't care less if they read the Torah and the Koran, as long as it is a GENERAL BOOK GROUP). What if we had a men only book group and one female perceived that most of the decision makers in the department were in it and had the opportunity to fraternize that she was unable to partake in because of her gender. March Madness emails are not offensive, or at least if they are, no one's said anything. And believe me, I'd have heard about it.

Your naivety is starting to amuse me.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 2:18 PM

To Dave:
Most Jews, even Orthodox Jews, will shake hands of the opposite gender. Only the very right-wing won't -- and as a Jewish woman, I'm offended by them since I don't consider myself a contaminatory specimen as they do.

To those asking about Bedouins/Israeli citizenship:
The Law of Return states that all Jews can automatically become Israeli citizens. Everyone else can apply for Israeli citizenship, it's just not automatic.

I think the loss of values relative to the Bedouins relates to shifting from the values of a nomadic society to the values of a rooted-in-one-place society, with the primary value change being the move from valuing nomadicism to valuing (perhaps not by choice) living in one place.

Posted by: sally | April 10, 2007 2:18 PM

My MIL's church was so full of hypocrisy it was sickening. When my wife was going to church there, there was plenty of talk about helping others, doing good deeds, etc, but it was always limited to only those in the church itself, never the greater community.

When her mother died, the only phone calls my wife got from the parisioners was, after the usual short statements of sympathy, when would the estate sale be held, and could they come by and pick up something to remember her mother by.

No one came by to drop off food (a Southern tradition whose absence shocked me, my sister and my wife's friend who was there with her), or personally speak to my wife. Even at the funeral ceremony people kept asking about estate sales, who was going to handle selling the house, etc.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 2:19 PM

"We had our son baptized, primarily because it made Grandma happy and we don't think it did him any harm."

Right on, Jesus must be very proud of this baptism!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:21 PM

"You CAN teach your children to be kind and decent people w/o belonging to an organized religion. Talk to them about your values, live them.

"Many people subscribe to an organized religion for their kids simply because they are too simple minded or lazy to do the work it takes on a daily basis to instill these qualities in their children."
____________________

I agree with the first part of need no "religion"'s post. He/she lost me with the accusation of simple mindedness/laziness though. Raising children in an organized religion can be helpful for parents in terms of providing a framework, and there can be some positives in being part of a religious community. It all depends on what people want for themselves/their families.

I don't want religion in my workplace though; there's too much potential for creating an environment that's hostile to those who are in a religious minority or have no religious beliefs. And I don't want it in the public schools; children should be able to receive a public education free from religious pressure too.

Posted by: Marian | April 10, 2007 2:22 PM

John L -- that sounds like an awful church and a lousy community. If you chose to go to church, you should not go to a church like that, but rest assured there are much better options.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:22 PM

Can you get un-baptized?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:23 PM

2:07, I second the thanks for a thoughtful post.

Arlington Dad - there's something else we have in common. In our household, we've found that our different religious upbringings leads to more thoughtful, more inclusive responses to the kids about a variety of faith-related topics.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 2:23 PM

Can you get un-baptized?

Sure, and you can regain your virginity too.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:24 PM

If people are so indignant about talking to strangers/responding to their invitations/visiting strange places -- how do you feel about mountain climbing, skiing, travelling around the world with 2 small kids in a 18-foot boat, as in (around Christmas) all-day show on Travel Channel? You can't be always self-sufficient or stay in a fenced hotel, you should learn to trust people, and use your common sense to detect whom you can trust. Taking all the precautions you still can get killed just crossing the street, while I'm travelling to Syria.

Posted by: Extreme tourism | April 10, 2007 2:24 PM

Chiclet, he may be naive, but you are the one spending all your time dealing with the complaints instead of having clear policies that address intrusions other than religious ones. How is that efficient or in the best of interest of your company?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:24 PM

"Chiclet, he may be naive, but you are the one spending all your time dealing with the complaints instead of having clear policies that address intrusions other than religious ones. How is that efficient or in the best of interest of your company?"

LOL!! Clearly, you don't understand the role of HR. I ask myself the same question, and the problem is, I have to explain our policies to many people, many times a day, often more than once. It is the nature of the beast.

By the way, we're dealing with complaints about religion today only. Let me know when you have a blog that deals with:

racism
sexism
ageism
The smell of my office mate's perfume makes me sick
He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me
There is a really, really good reason for me to have gone leave without pay to take my kids to Disney

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 2:27 PM

Megan's Neighbor -- yea, I think the "mixing of religions" made us step back and assess our beliefs and our religious practices. We've found that we can use the best of our combined experiences, and we don't have to stick to the "script" we learned in our respective churches. It also teaches tolerance because your kids see that there is more than one path to God / happiness / peace.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 2:29 PM

"He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me"

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 02:27 PM

Chiclet, if you have a solution to this one which you can share with us, and assuming it involves a legal act, please don't wait for a suitable blog column to share, LOL.

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 2:30 PM

MN - Easy solution: T-shirt with an up arrow that says "Eyes are up here"

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 2:32 PM

I have a friend who is Jewish, and she once made a statement that made a lot of sense. She said that if we were to assume, for the sake of argument that Jesus is the Messiah, that during his second coming, none of the Christians would find them at their particular churches. He would be at the Synagogue, because of course, he was an observant Jew during his life.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 2:32 PM

John L - you hit the nail on the head. Once religion is organized it becomes about the organization (the new kitchen, the turkey dinner fundraiser etc..) and the people running those things rather than the faith. I wish that just one church would say "don't come to church this Sunday, don't donate, give those 2 hours of time and money to a group of your choosing who needs help".

Posted by: Need no "religion" | April 10, 2007 2:33 PM

Arlington Dad - if you don't mind my asking, I couldn't tell from your post which church you attend, or if you attend both? It sounds like you and your family have a great approach. I have another friend who was also raised a Baptist and married a Catholic and he ended up converting to Catholicism because he felt that these was nothing in the Catholic teachings he didn't also believe. I thought that was really interesting as I thought that there were beliefs in Catholicism that were quite unique (as you can tell I don't know anything about that subject). Anyway, I'm really enjoying reading the comments between you and M.N. and 2:07.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 2:35 PM

"He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me"

"S/he always looks at my crotch when he speaks to me"

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:36 PM

"S/he always looks at my crotch when he speaks to me"

Ok, seriously, show of hands, who has ever heard that complaint in real life?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:37 PM

"He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me"

There was a recent study on this - apparently men can't help it. When they are shown pictures of people - women OR men, their eyes automatically go to the genitals (presumably to check out either the opportunities or the competition). The kicker - the same was true when they were shown pictures of PUPPIES - straight to the genitals (women were looking at the puppy-dog eyes).

Posted by: Kathrina | April 10, 2007 2:37 PM

Megan's Neighbor, it is hard to explain in an email. It involves ducking your head to meet his eyes and doing what looks like a funky dance move and saying "Sorry, what did you say?"

:)

If I'm being candid, which I can be thanks to my anonymity on this blog, the employee who has made this complaint has had "work" on her breasts and it is difficult NOT to stare at them, even for me. However, we have sexual harassment training quarterly in my office and we have included the scenario to try to gently educate the offender. The next step will be a sit-down meeting. It is a very difficult "greyish" perception issue.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 2:38 PM

He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me

Maybe you should wear something more appropiate to work that doesn't show your cleavage or your thong when you bend over.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:39 PM

"If people are so indignant about talking to strangers/responding to their invitations/visiting strange places"

Two words: Ted Bundy

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:39 PM

"S/he always looks at my crotch when he speaks to me"

Never heard this one. Ever.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 2:41 PM

"Well, adolescents have had hormones for thousands of years, yet it is only within the past 40 years or so that we see unfettered teenage sexuality and backtalk to adults."

Yeah, because no one was EVER sent to a long-lost aunt's house to deliver a baby that was later given up for adoption, under the guise that the teen was "studying abroad."

"Churchgoing Christians have a significantly reduced rate of divorce than their nonparticipating counterparts."

Some religions frown on divorce. You'd stay in a loveless marriage if you knew your community would treat you like a pariah too.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 2:42 PM

Megan -- we are the people who took a couple of years off of going to church, but realized we needed to get serious about it now that the kids out of diapers and can benefit from church. We've been going to a Catholic church for a year now, but now my Catholic wife has decided that we should visit the Congregationalist church in our neighborhood -- it's more liberal, they do more local charity work, and the sermons are a bit more intelligent. So I'm not sure where we will land, but once we're there, we'll know we made an informed decision that works for our family.

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 2:43 PM

He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me

Maybe you should wear something more appropiate to work that doesn't show your cleavage or your thong when you bend over.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 02:39 PM


Some guys would stare at that area even if the woman were wearing a burqa.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:43 PM

What upset me and my sister the most about how her church reacted after my MIL died was, from everyone's comments (from the minister on down) she was the glue that held the church together. Yet, even though my wife was known to be in town to deal with the funeral arrangements, etc, not even the minister himself showed up to help her out, much less anyone else.

Then, after my wife's friend made suitably biting comments to the minister at the viewing about the lack of support and caring shown by her church, there was still nothing done even when the minister assured her that would change.

After the funeral, my wife and I, plus my sister and my wife's friend were told that food had been brought to the church for us to take home. There were two (frozen) pecan pies, a bowl of collard greens, some dinner rolls, and a bit of fried chicken. We thanked the embarassed church manager (a friend of my MIL), took the food home, and ended up throwing nearly all of it away.

Even though none of my family went to church after I was 8 yo or so, when my mother died the house literally groaned from the amount of food brought by sympathizers and mourners, not to mention the overwhelming number of people showing up just to help out around the house. The difference was completely amazing to me.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 2:45 PM

"If people are so indignant about talking to strangers/responding to their invitations/visiting strange places"

Two words: Ted Bundy

If you let your fear of 1 person out of 300,000,000 run your life, you perhaps should become a monk/nun

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:46 PM

What's a probability of meeting Ted Bundy vs getting hit by a truck? Ted Bunny did not kill randomly, drunk drivers do. Stil, every morning I get on the road.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:48 PM

Some guys would stare at that area even if the woman were wearing a burqa.

How can you tell where anything is while wearing a burqa?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:49 PM

Arlington Dad - thanks. It sounds like a great journey for your family.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 2:50 PM

You are so right. Ted Bundy looked for dumb people who went with strangers. So, I bet you will meet someone like him before someone like scarry gets hit by a truck.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:51 PM

Some guys would stare at that area even if the woman were wearing a burqa.

How can you tell where anything is while wearing a burqa?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 02:49 PM


Proportionately at a certain height below the face.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:52 PM

John L.

Your MIL might have been too much of the
glue that held the church together!!

What did YOU do to help out?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:53 PM

Extreme tourism,

I say more power to you, but can't I do all those things without inviting people I don't know into my house around my children or getting into a car/boat, etc with them?

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 2:55 PM

He always looks at my breasts when he speaks to me

Maybe you should wear something more appropiate to work that doesn't show your cleavage or your thong when you bend over.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 02:39 PM

this takes blaming the victim to a new nadir.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:55 PM

"The smell of my office mate's perfume makes me sick"

Chiclet - We went through something like this in my office and it was so dumb. A woman that had worked in our office for years suddenly proclaimed that she was allergic to perfumes, perfumed lotions, deodorant and who knows what else. HR first asked workers that sat around this person not to use perfumes, etc. then tried to tell the whole office not to use perfumes, etc. We all ignored the policy and the offended party (sorry to use that term) stopped complaining. Maybe she became unallergic - if that is possible.

Also, on the religion in the workplace, perhaps if you defined for us the ban and what it encompasses in your workplace there wouldn't be so much banter. I have a prayer taped up over my computer - is that allowed in your office? We have only had one religious email go out and it was by mistake - the guilty party apologized and we all carried on.

As for the leary men and roaming eyes, our VP was the worst. After he left there was a Sexual Harrassment class we all had to attend. I think it was in part because once he left everyone had horror stories that they had been keeping to themselves and management freaked out.

Posted by: cmac | April 10, 2007 2:56 PM

Proportionately at a certain height below the face.


Yea, all my guy friends have HUGE burqa fetishes!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:57 PM

"Proportionately at a certain height below the face."

I assume the proportion is adjusted, depending on the target, to allow for gravitational forces.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 2:59 PM

this takes blaming the victim to a new nadir.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 02:55 PM

There is a victim here? Taking victimhood to a new level!

Are you going to seriouly tell me that some women wear clothing that is inappropiate for a business office? And they know it. Or have been told it by other women only to dismiss it as being jealous?

Chiclet herself said that one complaining had "work" done to herself but complained when men noticed.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:05 PM

Megan's Neighbor, it is hard to explain in an email. It involves ducking your head to meet his eyes and doing what looks like a funky dance move and saying "Sorry, what did you say?"

Thanks, Chiclet, LOL. I've tried this approach before but thought it was insufficiently subtle. but, heck, with these guys, maybe subtle is over-valued!

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 3:06 PM

To CMAC: Your co-worker may well have been a genuine pain in the @$$. On the other hand, following my severe pneumonia etc., my pulmonologist laid down the law that I was to avoid airborne respiratory irritants, including secondhand smoke -- no, I myself had never smoked -- dust and, yes, strong scents.

Glad to hear that the VP left -- good riddance!

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 3:06 PM

CMAC: Yes, your prayer would be allowed, as would any kind of print, photograph, card, etc., in your work area. (I've considered putting the Serenity prayer in my own.) I've only had to speak to two employees about artwork in their cubes/offices. One had a Robert Mapplethorpe photo that featured someone with a whip stuck in their naked backside. The other person had a framed print of George Costanza in the pose of him in his boxers on a red velvet couch. No one has ever complained about the religious things people have up in their offices/cubes.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 3:09 PM

Chiclet, how large is the organization you work for? I'm just curious after reading about your various travails.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 3:11 PM

"...a framed print of George Costanza in the pose of him in his boxers on a red velvet couch..."

Oh, Chiclet! Now I won't be able to get that image out of my mind for -- oh, I don't know -- at least a couple of minutes. Thanks for the diversion!

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 3:12 PM

My aunt is well endowed and when someone can't seem to look elsewhere, she will pointedly stare at their crotch until they get the point and look away. Has worked very well for her...

Posted by: mountainS | April 10, 2007 3:13 PM

has she tried breast reduction?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:15 PM

There is a victim here? Taking victimhood to a new level!

Are you going to seriouly tell me that some women wear clothing that is inappropiate for a business office? And they know it. Or have been told it by other women only to dismiss it as being jealous?

Chiclet herself said that one complaining had "work" done to herself but complained when men noticed.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 03:05 PM

Sorry, but boys will be boys or "she was asking for it" is not an appropriate attitude to take into the work place. Whether or not a particular employee is well-endowed by nature or synthetically, or a AAA Cup, and whether or not she wears turtlenecks or hoodies, she is the victim if a male colleague seeking to converse with her about employment-related tasks is staring at her boobs during the course of the conversation.

I do not walk around the office attempting to determine which of my male colleagues is well hung. Most of my colleagues look into my eyes when we talk. The one bozo who does not is unprofessional and will only cause my employer trouble in the long run.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:15 PM

Have you ever read about what's involved in breast reduction surgery? EWWW!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:16 PM

Over 7,500 across the country.

Posted by: Chiclet | April 10, 2007 3:16 PM

"One had a Robert Mapplethorpe photo that featured someone with a whip stuck in their naked backside."

now THERE's an evocative image for a dull Tuesday afternoon. We've come a long way from Lucinda's column, haven't we :>)

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:17 PM

has she tried breast reduction?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 03:15 PM

Under the theory that if you work with a neanderthal, the solution is to change yourself so that he is no longer challenged? I so hope this was TIC.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:21 PM

actually, I know of a woman who had breast reduction and she was extremely happy with the results.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:22 PM

I suspect for many people who were not introduced to organized religion as a child (or had a harsh experience with same), there is a tendency to group all Christians into a monolithic "religious right" with the likes of Pat Robertson, James Dobson, the Christian Coalition, etc. The "quieter" denominations, as I call them, have only recently begun to speak up, and this has been hard for them as it's in their nature to remain more private (Episcopalians, UU, Presbyterians, i.e., many of the so-called "mainline" denominations).

I think if a Martian landed on Earth today, he/she/it would have a very skewed vision of religion if they only looked at what was reported about it in the mainstream media.

I also think that for many families, weekly church attendance has fallen victim to "balance." For most, it's a sixth day to set the alarm and rush out the door. For some, it's a seventh (we struggled through a year of this). In families where both parents work and everyone is exhausted, a Sunday morning at home reading the paper is understandably tempting.

We were occasional church-goers at best until DD started Kindergarten. I fulfilled a promise to myself that year and joined the choir, which pretty much mandated our attendance every Sunday. This has turned into a win-win situation as I'm getting a personal "outlet" by participating in something I love to do, and it gets us up and moving on Sundays. The Episcopalian church we attend gives the choir the summer off, so we slip into attending once or twice a month and have some lazy Sundays.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 10, 2007 3:22 PM

cmac, an interesting twist on perfume allergies/sensitivities: in undergrad, I had a (very good) professor who had burned the cilia off his mucus membranes (i.e., nose hairs) and damaged the membranes themselves in a laboratory experiment gone horribly awry. He wouldn't allow anyone to wear perfumes or scented lotions in class or his office; offending parties were sent out of the class or offered alcohol wipes to remove the odor. A lot of students complained, but I sympathized with him; I'm a fan of perfumes, but I wouldn't want to choke on someone else's if I had a similar condition. His wife had been involved in the accident as well; you would see them walking through campus wearing respirators and holding hands. They were middle-aged, but to me, they seemed so adorable walking together like that.

Chiclet: this can be solved by pictures of adorable animals! The Humane Society, ASPCA, and Doris Day Animal League send me calendars every year. Who can get offended by adorable puppies and kittens?!

One year for April Fool's Day, my coworker printed out and taped up hundreds of pictures of kittens and stuck them all over my lab bench. I thought they were so cute that I couldn't take them down. I finally did after I realized how unprofessional it looked, but I couldn't bring myself to throw them away. They're in my filing cabinet.

I got him back the next year by pasting up photographs of very, um, large women, some scantily clad. How's THAT for professional!

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 3:23 PM

At my church, a baby was baptized a few weeks ago and his parents were not married.

Posted by: MOMto3 | April 10, 2007 11:03 AM

I hope you don't mean the baby sinned because her parents were not married.

Posted by: foamgnome | April 10, 2007 3:23 PM

Sexism being what it is, the Mapplethorpe image was probably only offensive because it was a man's ass being penetrated. If the picture had been of a woman's, other women would've been told they couldn't take a joke.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:23 PM

Under the theory that if you work with a neanderthal, the solution is to change yourself so that he is no longer challenged

That or gouge out his eyes!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:26 PM

Arlington Dad,
I am curious how the Congregationalist church will work out. I was raised in, and continue to attend, the UCC - many of which originated as Congregationalists. I don't want to do too much rah-rahing (don't want to imply "my church is better than your church" or anything :) ) but I think it is a great choice for those who are interested in tolerance.

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 3:26 PM

Work in one of those places with the rainbows over the entrance.


Posted by: to 3:21 | April 10, 2007 3:30 PM

I am "a preacher's kid" . In fact, my dad is still a practicing Episcopal priest. My way of rebelling in college was that I didn't have to make my bed, and if I wanted to drink more than one Coke per day, I could. Do I believe in God? Yes. Do I go door-to-door to recruit? No. In fact, few people know my dad is a priest.

As for the general discussion--my denomination is very liberal. Many Protestant sects don't like us because we appear "too Catholic" and the Catholics have problems with us because our priests marry, can be women, can be gay, and we can use birth control.

As for Lucinda's original essay and echoed by many on this board--I agree that leading by example! Whether you believe in Jesus, Mohammed, other Jewish prophets, Buddha or anyone else, a key commonality is that they all led by example.

And if you are atheist/agnostic, you are still leading by example--and you're children will internalize more than you know.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 3:32 PM

Since we went off on this tangent, I wanted to say that I have to try very hard not to stare at women's chests, though I don't have this problem when they are talking to me. I have no boobs whatsoever and am helplessly fascinated by cleavage - I really do sympathize with the guys :)

Posted by: TakomaMom | April 10, 2007 3:36 PM

Work in one of those places with a "No fat chicks" bumper sticker.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:36 PM

sorry, after that long explanation I meant to add that if you are atheistic or agnostic (no value judgment here, just observation) that no matter whether you do, or don't practice religion, you lead by example.

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 3:36 PM

Work with Don Imus!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:37 PM

Regular church attendance leads to better sex.

Posted by: Jen | April 10, 2007 3:37 PM

work in a nunnery?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:38 PM

"Regular church attendance leads to better sex" Jen

Better as in how? Quality or quantity? Insatiable curiosity at work here!

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 3:38 PM

"As for the general discussion--my denomination is very liberal. Many Protestant sects don't like us because we appear "too Catholic" and the Catholics have problems with us because our priests marry, can be women, can be gay, and we can use birth control."

Actually many have a problem because your leadership has turned away from the bible and started to even doubt Jesus's authority and resurrection. Relativism is killing a once great denomination.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 3:41 PM

"What did YOU do to help out?"

Uhh, I was the husband whose wife just had her mom die suddenly. Among other things, I drove 10 hours one way (she flew) to be there with her, and basically assisted her in whatever manner she needed at the time.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 3:42 PM

I have a friend who was a genuine ironing board until she was pg. I don't know what she was happier about, having a baby or having cleavage.

Interesing to know that at least 2 (apparently straight) women look at other women's assets!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:42 PM

Yes, Patrick you are very correct. I wrote about my denomination's general teachings, but did not state in which group my dad falls, because ad hominem attacks don't appeal to me. I was trying to speak cogently in generalities to the original post, which was, if I remember correctly, how to teach your children your belief system (or as we've talked about today, choosing not to).

By the by, I post very occasionally under another name here, Caroline.

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 3:44 PM

My background is somewhat strange. My parents are aggressively athiest. We grew up that way and I used to be that way. Fortunately Jesus didn't give up on me and I found my way to him. We still battle my parents to the point that I told my mom that if she undermined us, that was it. We now have an uneasy truce and my wife and my children and I are active in our church and my parents are still miserable and atheist. Sad.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 3:49 PM

I'd love to hear your parents' side of the story.

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 10, 2007 3:51 PM

Patrick,

It sounds like you've had a painful experience. I hope you love them (your parents) anyway....

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 3:51 PM

Even though my personal faith is fairly liberal and agnostic, I felt that Lucinda's point on leading by example was a fabulous one that the world needs as a whole.

No matter what religion you follow, it doesn't mean anything if you don't live it. And, for the record, some of my best friends are fairly religious people who listen and respect others. I've never felt degraded by them for my non-belief. (Even though I've felt plenty degraded, by plenty of other "religious" types)

What I don't understand is "rote" religion. My new sister-in-law is quick to use God's name, but doesn't really live a particularly pious life....my husband explains it's because they were all brought up Catholic and this is the way Catholics are. Is this true?

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 3:53 PM

Did anyone see the PBS special on Jonestown? Talk about people getting suckered in, in the name of religion.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:54 PM

"my parents are still miserable and atheist. Sad."

Are you blaming your parents' misery on their atheism or simply saying that they are both atheist and miserable?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:54 PM

I'd love to hear your parents' side of the story."

Oh, that's easy. People who go to church are stupid and you should spend your life making as much money as you can and looking out for # 1. They have lots of money and no friends. They are very successful by their standards. Couldn't even get them to contribute $20 to hurricane Katrina relief because they "don't know any of those people".

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 3:54 PM

To "to pATRICK" - Me too!

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 3:55 PM

Maybe pATRICK's parents are miserable because he's trying to convert them, and they don't want to be. They may see it as his failure to honor his parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 3:57 PM

TakomaMom, I think women look at other women just as much as men do.

Several years ago, I was going to a birthday lunch with several of my co-workers. On the way to the restaurant, the lady walking next to me commented on how the birthday girl was quite underdressed up top.

I sat across from the birthday girl and in the course of the meal, I gave her a compliment, "Nice cleavage! I like it!"

Embarrassed as she was, she asked me how I could possibly know what she was, or how little she was wearing since I've always claimed to be totally blind.

So I told her, "I can hear the echo when I talk to you talk to you talk to you."

Laughter ensued. A harassment suit was never filed.

Posted by: Father of 4 | April 10, 2007 3:57 PM

Very funny! I am female and thought this was a scream. Thanks for giving me a nice way to end my day.

Posted by: to father of 4 | April 10, 2007 4:02 PM

Maybe pATRICK's parents are miserable because he's trying to convert them, and they don't want to be. They may see it as his failure to honor his parents."

That's a good one! They are miserable because their belief system leaves them with no friends and an empty life besides making money. Convert them! I fell out of my chair laughing at that one!

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:03 PM

Father of 4, I bet you read the Braille edition of the Playboy centerfold, too ;-)

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 4:04 PM

"They are miserable because their belief system leaves them with no friends and an empty life besides making money."

pATRICK, it sounds like your parents are indeed unhappy people. However, it's a shame to assume that anyone who is an atheist will have no friends and believe only in making money. It's wonderful that you have found a church that has provided you with community. Many of us have similar communities and are active in them outside of a religious structure.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 4:06 PM

Takoma Mom -- many thanks, that helps. It's nice to hear stories of people who liked their church so much that they stayed with it once they made their own decisions!

Posted by: Arlington Dad | April 10, 2007 4:06 PM

"pATRICK, it sounds like your parents are indeed unhappy people. However, it's a shame to assume that anyone who is an atheist will have no friends and believe only in making money."

No, but i do believe that absent a spiritual side, you are left with pop culture, business and other ultimately hollow pursuits to fill the void. It seems athiests are among some of the most unhappy people I have encountered.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:11 PM

Actually many have a problem because your leadership has turned away from the bible and started to even doubt Jesus's authority and resurrection. Relativism is killing a once great denomination.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 03:41 PM

pATRICK,

Please use restraint in terms of what you assume about the theological beliefs of individual Episcopalians, or the quality of the missions in individual Episcopal parishes based on denominational leadership. We are not all relativists, and many of us belong to thriving parishes, raising our kids, and serving our communities. A few of us also are former Baptists who got tired of the leadership in that denomination for spending more time condemning gays then spreading the Gospel. As you can see from the messages posted between 8 and 1 or so, we're all busy enough defending ourselves against the snarky contingent of rabid atheists - we don't really need to spend time defending ourselves against attacks from other Christians, now do we?

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 4:12 PM

"we're all busy enough defending ourselves against the snarky contingent of rabid atheists - we don't really need to spend time defending ourselves against attacks from other Christians, now do we?"

My apologies.....

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:13 PM

Being an atheist somehow being equated with not having friends doesn't make sense.

Similarly, being a member of a church (or being "religious") does not necessarily equate with having friends, at least not to me.

Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 4:13 PM

Yes, I am Megan's friend. Even though, she is gasp, a stranger.

Hehe, Megan I wish you lived by me so I could invite you over.

Posted by: scarry | April 10, 2007 4:14 PM

I think that stark religious differences between parents and children are just hard, no matter which side of the dividing line you stand on. My mother is a very conservative Christian. I'm a liberal Episcopalian. We receive e-mails, religious tracts, letters, and speeches semi-regularly. She is terrified that her granddaughter is being raised in apostasy (not to mention Las Vegas!). We ignore the more passive come-ons and try to rebuff the more aggressive ones politely, although I admit that I've spouted off without thinking a couple of times (who hasn't with their mother?).

There are so many things I'd like to talk to her about when it comes to parenting, but experience has taught me that those conversations all lead down the same road. Her religious zeal has put a wall between us, and that is sad.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 10, 2007 4:16 PM

Scarry, if you'd head on over to Meesh's house, you'd find Megan and KLB having mimosa, no doubt.

Thanks, pATRICK:>)

Posted by: Megan's Neighbor | April 10, 2007 4:17 PM

pATRICK - It seems obvious to me why religious types are happy and you have encountered unhappy atheists. Ignorance is bliss.

Truly, many people are agnostic/atheist because they want to ask deeper questions about why the world is the way it is and the traditional church view doesn't satisfy them.

Religion is the opiate of the masses, afterall. (Marx was right about that, at least)

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 4:17 PM

Arlington Dad, my husband and I are in somewhat of a similar situation to that of you and your wife. The only difference is that we were both brought up in the same religion.

Posted by: MV | April 10, 2007 4:18 PM

"It seems athiests are among some of the most unhappy people I have encountered."

That's funny, many of my atheist friends (gasp! I have friends!) are the most spiritual people I've ever met.

Atheism IS a religion. It's simple etymology. A=without, theism=god. We don't worship a god, but that doesn't make us barren emotionally. Buddhists and Taoists don't worship a god either, and they are also very spiritual. Conversely, I know many "religious" people who are empty inside, and others who blatantly defy the tenets of their own faith.

Whether or not you believe in god is not a measure of how spiritual you are, or what you live for.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 4:20 PM

Re: smells in office story - if the lady had not been working for years without complaining - or presented some kind of medical condition - people may have been more inclined to follow the request. As it turns out I think she was making a big stink (pun intended) over nothing and has been with the org an additional 5 or so years and nary a complaint. Personally I think she was lying but who can say. If there were a medical condition I would have been on board for no-smells. However I do question whether they can require people NOT to wear perfume, etc.

Catlady - as for the VP - one of his inappropriate comments to me was after I had my daughter how I had "filled out in all the right places." Yes, I had big, breast-feeding boobs and he could not take his eyes off them. Believe me, I felt awkward and was in no way flaunting. However, they are gone now and so is he...........

General Boob question: can other women tell immediatley whether a woman has been "susidized"?


Posted by: cmac | April 10, 2007 4:21 PM

" you are left with pop culture, business and other ultimately hollow pursuits to fill the void"

Well, actually, I volunteer actively with several community groups, we donate food to families in crisis, we organize block parties to try to get our neighborhood together, we give to charity, we don't have cable or watch TV, our idea of a good day is working the yard with our son. We are very close to our families and our friends. I do not consider any of these to be hollow pursuits.

Moreover, I do not consider my charitable and volunteer work to be less worthy than yours because it is motivated by my belief that it is simply my obligation to my fellow humans rather than by a belief in a church doctrine.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 4:24 PM

Oh yeah, and Scarry, right back at ya!

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 4:26 PM

CMAC, Did you ever hear where your ex-VP wound up working? I'd love to know if he's up to his same old tricks at the next job. Or did he retire? I suppose it's too much to hope that he learned his lesson, at least in terms of not saying what he was thinking (even if his way of thinking couldn't be changed).

Posted by: catlady | April 10, 2007 4:27 PM

pATRICK - It seems obvious to me why religious types are happy and you have encountered unhappy atheists. Ignorance is bliss."

Actually you have it reversed, knowledege of God's love is Bliss, Ignorance is a hellish emptiness.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:27 PM

General Boob question: can other women tell immediatley whether a woman has been "subsidized"?

Posted by: cmac | April 10, 2007 04:21 PM

sure, if they are silicone implants, but no more so than men. Both sexes are capable of recognizing boobs impervious to rules of gravitational pull, and shapes not found in nature.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 4:27 PM

"...if you have a solution to this one which you can share with us, and assuming it involves a legal act..."

Announce in a very loud voice that your maiden name was Margaret Thatcher (or Eleanor Roosevelt, Queen Elizabeth II) you get the idea.

Posted by: Fred | April 10, 2007 4:30 PM

Actually you have it reversed, knowledege of God's love is Bliss, Ignorance is a hellish emptiness.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 04:27 PM


Doesn't the Bible have something to say about the self-righteous? And it's not pleasant.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 4:31 PM

Having mimosa right now!
I work for plastic surgeons and one of our main operations is a breast reduction. I agree with the posters that say it is a big operation and also say that they are among our happiest patients.
That being said, looking at breasts is part of my job and I find myself looking at strangers. Also look for augmentations in magazines and tv, can't help myself. Most are pretty obvious.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 4:31 PM

Patrick - how would you react if when your children grow up, one of them becomes an atheist, to the point where they say that if you don't stop your religious talk, you can't see them or your grandchildren? Will you respect their decision, or will you turn against them for not believing in "the one true faith"? Your posts don't make it sound like you would think that a valid decision, but then you'd be treating them exactly the way you complain your parents are treating you...

Posted by: Kathrina | April 10, 2007 4:31 PM

catlady- The VP went to work with an org that is associated with ours but not closely enough that his reputation would necessarily precede him. He was a nice guy, but he could not keep his eyes to himself. When he drank at conferences it was downright embarrassing.

I'm sure he is still learing and peering!

Posted by: cmac | April 10, 2007 4:32 PM

pATRICK,

It sounds like you found peace, and while I would wonder if it actually came from a GOD or was some internal factor/decision, its unquestionably a good thing that you found it. The world needs more peaceful souls.

Megan,
"Moreover, I do not consider my charitable and volunteer work to be less worthy than yours because it is motivated by my belief that it is simply my obligation to my fellow humans rather than by a belief in a church doctrine"
Wish I had said this!

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 4:33 PM

Lord.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 4:34 PM

For people like pATRICK, their way is always right. Just ask them.

Posted by: To Kathrina | April 10, 2007 4:35 PM

My MIL's oldest daughter died recently. She is an ardent Catholic, and I have to admit that it helped her deal with the tragedy. Her daughter was an alcoholic and had other pretty big problems. My MIL thanked god for taking her daughter away swiftly and without prolonged suffering, and said that it was for the best, because had she lived to be old, she would have been a tremendous burden on the family. In her mind, god knew what he was doing. Her death was an act of god's mercy.

As she explained all this to us, all I could think was that how could a generous god decide to take the life of a youngish mother. What would her children do without her, because alcohlic or not, she still cared for them and they still loved her. Why would god abandon her to alcohlism and let her die rather then finding a way to help her?

In any case, I observed that there are always 2 ways of looking at things. You can choose to see the good, or you can choose to see the bad. For some people, being optimistic means that they are somehow able to attribute the good things to god, and that helps them accept the bad stuff. I think this is the case for my MIL. She just accepts the tragedies and believes that god is the cause of all good things.

Whether I believe in god or not is something that I continually change my mind about. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I have never been able to make my mind up about that. But even so, I don't need to believe in god to realize that good and bad things happen, and the only way to keep on going is to try to see the positive in life, even in the face of tragedy. I sometimes think that our prayers and entreaties to god are just a way of consoling ourselves in the face of the unknown, because if there is a god, he would be so beyond our understanding that none of our petty concerns would be of much consequence to him and the big picture.

I do believe in life though, and that life wants more of itself. This is why we keep reproducing. The seasons change, but after winter there is spring. After death, there is life, and then their is death again. It is a beautiful cycle that seems to perpetuate itself. On most days, it's enough for me.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 4:37 PM

"Patrick - how would you react if when your children grow up, one of them becomes an atheist, to the point where they say that if you don't stop your religious talk, you can't see them or your grandchildren? Will you respect their decision, or will you turn against them for not believing in "the one true faith"? Your posts don't make it sound like you would think that a valid decision, but then you'd be treating them exactly the way you complain your parents are treating you..."


First off, if they became an atheist, i would be immensely sad. Second, my first duty is to follow the Lord. I would pray for them, and as harsh as it sounds I would not separate myself from my beliefs for the sake of a relationship. The difference is that atheism is NOT a religion or a belief system but a rejection of God. If they became Muslim or Jewish, I would respect their beliefs even if I did not agree. I doubt a non believer would understand this but I am sure people of faith will see my point.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:40 PM

In other words, you're incapable of respecting an atheist's choice.

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:44 PM

"The difference is that atheism is NOT a religion or a belief system but a rejection of God."

Patrick, I actually don't believe this is always true. Not all people have this instinctual faith in god. It is impossible for some people (like me) to just decide to believe in god, where in fact, try as they might, they can't feel it or see any evidence of it that is convincing. So they become atheists or agnostics because they simply don't see god (spiritually speaking). It isn't that they see him and refuse him. It's that they don't see him at all.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 4:45 PM

Wow Patrick, It's comments like this which incur the wrath of the blog.

"I doubt a non believer would understand this but I am sure people of faith will see my point."

I'm an agnostic, a non-angry one (shocking, I know!), but I'm not un-nuanced nor stupid.

You have a valid point here. Both my parent's are agnostic, but were extremely open to theology as an educational subject. In a twisted reverse of your point, I'm absolutely sure my parents would be fine if I announced I were studying any religion.

If, however, I became intolerant and started to proselytize (spelling?) they would be appalled and hurt because they are not intolerant nor overly invested in one belief system themselves.

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 4:49 PM

In other words, you're incapable of respecting an atheist's choice.

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 10, 2007 04:44 PM

4:44, would you respect your daughter's choice if she became part of a polygamous relationship? if she took up with a pimp? if she started an organization that advocates abortion clinic bombings? You'd love her, but respect is separate from love.

How we treat adults to whom we are not related and with whom we disagree is one issue. How we handle our children's choices in life, to the extent that consistent with our respective value systems, those choices have significant consequences, is a separate issue.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 4:51 PM

So, pATRICK, by your definition, Taoism, Buddhism, and Confucianism are not religions? If belief in a god is all that's necessary, does that make Paganism better than monotheistic religions by a factor of how many more gods and goddesses one believes in?

That's a very linear definition of a religion. I'm glad I'm not included in your belief system. My religion (that's right) includes beliefs from many other religions, ways of thinking, and ways of acting. Just because I don't "worship" an ethereal being whose existence is questionable at best does not mean I lack religion or spirituality. Unlike you, however, I respect those who rely on the belief in an ethereal being for strength and fulfillment, provided they return the favor.

I hope for your sake that your children follow in your footsteps willingly, because if you deny them a relationship with you based on their beliefs (as you did with your parents), you will regret it. Members of my family have done this to me and my mother, and we have not looked back, while they consistently try to contact us. Whether to make amends or a conversion, I am unsure. Nevertheless, I realize I'm talking to a wall here, and why would someone as righteous and pious as you listen to a godless, soulless, money-hungry heathen such as myself?

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 4:51 PM

Sorry, I should have typed "you bring up an interesting point"....I'm not sure it's a valid one.

Posted by: Seattle | April 10, 2007 4:52 PM

"polygamous relationship? if she took up with a pimp? if she started an organization that advocates abortion clinic bombings?"

Wow, I didn't know atheists were the creators of all that! I'm so far behind! I'd better get started on that clinic bombing and start practicing my pimp limp! Nice to see what you equate my very valid religion with, anon.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 4:54 PM

4:44, would you respect your daughter's choice if she became part of a polygamous relationship? if she took up with a pimp? if she started an organization that advocates abortion clinic bombings? You'd love her, but respect is separate from love.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 04:51 PM


Polygamy, prostitution and bombing are all illegal activities. So by the same logic atheists should go to jail?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 4:54 PM

Are you kidding, anon at 4:51? You would actually compare being an atheist to taking up with a pimp or bombing an abortion clinic. Your levels of tolerance are clearly inadequate.

Plus, if we can decide to respect a stranger whose belief system is different from ours, we can and should certainly decide to do the same for our children. They deserve no less than what we would give a stranger.

I love the following poem:

On Children
by Kahlil Gibran

Your children are not your children.

They are the sons and daughters of Life's longing for itself.

They come through you but not from you,

And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.

You may give them your love but not your thoughts.

For they have their own thoughts.

You may house their bodies but not their souls,

For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow,
which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.

You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.

For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.

You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.

The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite,
and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.

Let your bending in the archer's hand be for gladness;

For even as He loves the arrow that flies,
so He loves also the bow that is stable.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 4:56 PM

"In other words, you're incapable of respecting an atheist's choice."

Absolutely true, what a hypocrite I would be to respect an aggressive rejection of God.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 4:56 PM

"In other words, you're incapable of respecting an atheist's choice."

Absolutely true, what a hypocrite I would be to respect an aggressive rejection of God.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 04:56 PM


If you don't like it in America, go live in a theocracy.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:01 PM

"Nevertheless, I realize I'm talking to a wall here, and why would someone as righteous and pious as you listen to a godless, soulless, money-hungry heathen such as myself?"

Not perfect, just forgiven. You can claim any spirituality you want. The problem is when you think that tolerance of other people supercedes belief in your faith. I respect other's religions HOWEVER that does NOT mean that I will deny the tenets of my faith on the altar of Political Correctness or because it makes you uncomfortable.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:01 PM

Saying that anyone who doesn't believe as you do is empty souless and wrong is respect? You are a hypocrite but not for the reasonss you think.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:03 PM

Patrick only thinks he's forgiven.

Posted by: God | April 10, 2007 5:05 PM

DNA tests reveal Larry Birkhead is the father of ANS's baby. Discuss.

Posted by: News flash | April 10, 2007 5:06 PM

I love debating athiests etc. They feel that it's ok to go to church, maybe sing a hymn or two but if you really believe all that then you are self righteous, intolerant etc. When you have no beliefs, it's incomprehensible when you meet those that do. So keep screeching.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:09 PM

Larry Birkhead just won the lottery.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 5:12 PM

"The problem is when you think that tolerance of other people supercedes belief in your faith."

Patrick, are you saying that tolerance of other people's views and belief in your own faith are mutually exclusive? I don't think most atheists or people of different spiritual persuations. would tell you you can't beleive in what you believe. They just don't want it rammed down their throats. They don't want to be converted or marginalized for not believing as you do. What's wrong with live and let live?

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:12 PM

Do you believe in Intelligent Design, too?

Posted by: To pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:12 PM

4:44, would you respect your daughter's choice if she became part of a polygamous relationship? if she took up with a pimp? if she started an organization that advocates abortion clinic bombings? You'd love her, but respect is separate from love.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 04:51 PM

speaking of linear thinking, this post says nothing about atheism or atheistic beliefs.

it responded to the line of questioning, if your daughter does X when she grows up, will you respect that choice.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:13 PM

"The problem is when you think that tolerance of other people supercedes belief in your faith."


So when you swear to uphold the Constitution (including the Bill of Rights) you're lying?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:14 PM

Patrick,
Perhaps you can make the generalization that faith is everything and if you don't believe, then you don't understand. My generalization with some people of faith (like you) is that they fall back on a simplistic (and too easy) view that faith is everything, but that they can't carry any meaningful discussion about it (other than that faith is everything). If there is in fact a god, he must of meant for you to actually use your brain, dontcha think?

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:16 PM

" but if you really believe all that then you are self righteous, intolerant etc."

Actually, the people who I have read about or met who seem to most deeply live their faiths simply do not have the swagger and attitude that your posts do. I think someone who is truly at peace with their belief, who truly tries to embody and live in grace, does not feel the need to pass judgment on others. I have nothing but respect for those people.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:18 PM

"Are you kidding, anon at 4:51? You would actually compare being an atheist to taking up with a pimp or bombing an abortion clinic. Your levels of tolerance are clearly inadequate."

get over yourself. the comparison is of one choice that diverges with a parent's worldview to other choices that may diverge with a parent's worldview. no more. no less. your levels of insecurity are clearly more than adequate.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:18 PM

"Whether I believe in god or not is something that I continually change my mind about. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I don't. I have never been able to make my mind up about that."

I certainly find that the strength of my belief ebbs and flows. My parents took me to church and provided religious education. I don't regret the exposure to the stories and lessons of love even if I don't agree with everything preached there. I once asked my mother if she truly believed, and she said that sometimes she didn't but then she looked at everything in nature and couldn't imagine that some kind of deity wasn't involved.

I expect in that we'll continue to take the kids to church and provide a religious education, though perhaps not in the denomination I was raised in. I hope they will carry some of the good with them whether or not they ultimately "believe."

Thanks for your comments on life, Emily. The Gibran poem is lovely, and your comments about renewal and the seasons is optimistic and hopeful.

Posted by: Marian | April 10, 2007 5:21 PM

"speaking of linear thinking, this post says nothing about atheism or atheistic beliefs.

it responded to the line of questioning, if your daughter does X when she grows up, will you respect that choice."

The original question asked if he would respect her if she became an atheist. Another poster responded with the comment regarding said illegal activities in reference to that post, thereby making the comparison.

I find it interesting that the nameless poster who brought up polygamy, pimp-befriending and clinic bombing never bothered to mention more innocuous lifestyles such as "what happens if your daughter grows up and marries outside of her race/moves to another country/any other activity you disagree with?" Instead, said poster went straight for the radical.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 5:23 PM

"get over yourself. the comparison is of one choice that diverges with a parent's worldview to other choices that may diverge with a parent's worldview."

Get over yourself. If that was your point, your analogy was flawed. You could of used examples like

would you respect your daughter's choice if she decided she was gay, decide to live with her partner and have children outside of marriage? There was no need to use examples that are clearly crimes, and not just differences in world view.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:26 PM

I find it interesting that the nameless poster who brought up polygamy, pimp-befriending and clinic bombing never bothered to mention more innocuous lifestyles such as "what happens if your daughter grows up and marries outside of her race/moves to another country/any other activity you disagree with?" Instead, said poster went straight for the radical.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 05:23 PM

That's because marrying outside of one's race or moving to another country are on a plane far beneath rejecting the existence of God. Rejecting the existence of God, to a believing parent, is not the equivalent of preferring to shop at Pentagon City rather than Montgomery Mall.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:27 PM

"That's because marrying outside of one's race or moving to another country are on a plane far beneath rejecting the existence of God."

So I was right after all. You just proved my point. In your mind, being an atheist is right on par with taking up with a pimp or bombing an abortion clinic. If that's what you think, stop being a hypocrite and own up to it. You can't have it both ways.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:30 PM

"Patrick, are you saying that tolerance of other people's views and belief in your own faith are mutually exclusive? I don't think most atheists or people of different spiritual persuations. would tell you you can't beleive in what you believe. They just don't want it rammed down their throats. They don't want to be converted or marginalized for not believing as you do. What's wrong with live and let live?"
"
Here's an example. If someone said your mother is prostitute and you did not refute it but said " Well everyone's entitled to their opinion", would you really be a good child? Would you really be a good daughter or son? No, you would not.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:31 PM

To Klb SS MD "....having a mimosa right now" well, me, being Episocpalian, am drinking the leftover communion wine from Easter service.....no, not really, I'm at work waiting for someone to bring their poor dog who has been hit by a car....

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 10, 2007 5:34 PM

But Patrick, by not believing in your faith, I am not claiming that your mother is a prostitute. I am only saying that mine happens to be a hairdresser.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:34 PM

"Here's an example. If someone said your mother is prostitute and you did not refute it but said " Well everyone's entitled to their opinion", would you really be a good child? Would you really be a good daughter or son? No, you would not."

well, do you know if your mother is a prostitute? Do you have any evidence that your mother isn't a prostitute, other than your wish for it to be so? Is the conclusion that your mother is a prostitute valid from the available evidence? It's not the same AT ALL.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:35 PM

would you respect your daughter's choice if she decided she was gay, decide to live with her partner and have children outside of marriage? There was no need to use examples that are clearly crimes, and not just differences in world view.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 05:26 PM

We each choose our own examples. You make your points your own way.

I deliberately chose choices that would be problematic for the majority of parents.

Your list of potential parent/child dealbreakers saddens me immensely, particularly if you consider them to be somewhat universally understood dealbreakers. If homosexuality, co-habitation and reproduction outside of wedlock are events and choices that you consider so horrific that the average parent would reject his child, your worldview is depressing indeed. I am glad I know of no parents for whom these events would cause a rift.

and by the way, in most states it is not a crime to fornicate with a pimp.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:36 PM

"Here's an example. If someone said your mother is prostitute and you did not refute it but said " Well everyone's entitled to their opinion", would you really be a good child? Would you really be a good daughter or son? No, you would not."

The child can simply say, "no, she's not, she's a teacher." She doesn't have to say, "No, she's a teacher and the only good teacher and anyone who would think differently is a depraved lunatic."

And, saying I don't believe as you do and asking you to simply not assume that I am hollow and miserable because of that is not the same as insulting your religion.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 5:38 PM

well, do you know if your mother is a prostitute? Do you have any evidence that your mother isn't a prostitute, other than your wish for it to be so? Is the conclusion that your mother is a prostitute valid from the available evidence? It's not the same AT ALL."

You missed the point completely and I am not surprised. By NOT refuting an attack on your mother, you are in essence allowing it to stand. You cannot love your mother and allow vicious attacks on her in the name of "tolerance" . It is hypocritical and demeans your relationship.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:39 PM

"Your list of potential parent/child dealbreakers saddens me immensely, particularly if you consider them to be somewhat universally understood dealbreakers. If homosexuality, co-habitation and reproduction outside of wedlock are events and choices that you consider so horrific that the average parent would reject his child, your worldview is depressing indeed. I am glad I know of no parents for whom these events would cause a rift."

Don't make unwarranged assumptions. I don't personally consider homosexuality or cohabitation outside of marriage to be dealbreakers (or even troublesome for that matter). But I know that a lot of people do, which is why I used these examples, which are not crimes, but to some people, are most definitely dealbreakers.

and by the way, in most states it is not a crime to fornicate with a pimp.

It is is he is paying you.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:40 PM

allow vicious attacks on her in the name of "tolerance

who has attacked your religion here today? you are doing all of the attacking on the atheists.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:41 PM

What if a Christian Scientist's child becomes an MD?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:43 PM

"If homosexuality, co-habitation and reproduction outside of wedlock are events and choices that you consider so horrific that the average parent would reject his child"

These ARE deal-breakers for many parents, religion notwithstanding. Luckily neither my interracial relationship, religion, or other choice of lifestyle is a deal-breaker (including homosexuality, single motherhood, or cohabitation, were that the case) for my parents, nor would they be for my children, if I had any.

Do you see the grey area here?

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 5:44 PM

I think that to Patrick, the fact that a person is an atheist means that he is attacking god. To him, it is an overt act of aggression that he must defend. I find it interesting.

To go back to the prostitute analogy. If someone said to me, your mother is a prostitute, my response would be to pretty much ignore that person. I know very well that my mother is not a prostitute, and I see no need to prove to someone else that she is not. What another person thinks about my mother does not really concern me, nor does it retract from the respect and love that I have for my mother. I can't control what other people think, and frankly, I don't care what they think.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:45 PM

pATRICK, Do you consider your atheist mother a prostitute?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:45 PM

I disagree with EMILY but at least she posts her name, unlike the anonymous slackers

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:46 PM

Episcopal minister's daughter,
That is so sad. I am a dog lover so that would break my heart. One of my biggest fears when I see people walking their dogs off leash is that they will run into the street.
Enjoy the leftover wine when you get home. :-)

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 5:46 PM

Alan Keyes's daughter's lesbianisn was a deal-breaker for him. But Mary Cheney's lesbianism wasn't a deal-breaker for her politically-conservative Christian high-profile parents.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:50 PM

Patrick,
That's right. We might disagree on most things, but at least we post our screen names. :)

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:50 PM

who has attacked your religion here today? you are doing all of the attacking on the atheists.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 05:41 PM

5:41: the following attacks were all lodged before 9:15 today.

Some of the problems with the country today can be traced to religion (e.g. George Bush and his "I'm a conservative Christian" garbage and his pandering to the religous right, those who would impose school prayer on us all, school vouchers--totally to promote religious based education, "faith-based" offices in the Federal government, banning funding for stemcells, limiting abortion rights, etc).
Posted by: anon today (the original) | April 10, 2007 07:23 AM


Both my wife and I experienced so much hypocrisy in the name of religion as we were growing up that we've both avoided structured religious organizations since. When we have a child, however, we may look for a more tolerant and inclusive religion that fits our life views; some here have mentioned the UU faith being very inclusive, and we may consider them.
Posted by: John L | April 10, 2007 07:55 AM

This self-proclaimed "born again Christian" who we have running this country into the ground has not done anything that Jesus or God would approve of. If anything, he has shown us how intolerant and narrow-minded he and his "Christian followers" really are.
Posted by: also anon for today | April 10, 2007 08:13 AM

In my opinion,brainwashing children to believe in superstitious nonsense contained in the koran, the bible or the torah is child abuse.
Posted by: rationalist | April 10, 2007 08:13 AM

This worked very well for us - though probably not in the way you meant. We introduced our children to myths and fables fairly early -- with boys The Odyessy is still the greatest action/adventure story ever told. After Greek/Roman, we made sure they had a good foundation of Norse -- and then some of the Eastern mythologies. By the time they moved to the Christian mythology, they were able to grasp the difference between 'real' and 'make-believe' and compare and contrast.
It all starts with the Greeks...
Posted by: Good stories | April 10, 2007 08:21 AM

Boy, there are going to be some nasty posts today (already have been). I'm sort of glad I'm tied up in meetings most of the day and won't be able to read/participate.
oh yes, the Catholics also teach women to be subservient to their husbands, to not use birth control, and to not live "in sin" before marriage.
Posted by: | April 10, 2007 08:25 AM

Great, Leslie!
Giving a pulpit to a professional peacher! What, Ms. Lucinda desn't have other outlets to procelytize? To a person who asked why "anon" did not criticize Jews or Muslims: some Jews are free-thinking, some are worse (much worse) than even Christian fundametalists in their intolerance. Saving grace, they are suposed to be intolerant only to their brethen, unlike Christian fundamentalists. But God (whatever God) help you if you marrying into such family, then you are "one of us". Muslims don't have such powerful voice in this country compared to Christian and Jewish fundamentalists. Neither do Buddhists and Hindus, so don't worry about them.
Posted by: Lynn | April 10, 2007 08:35 AM

Just watch that movie camp jesus! Those people are freaks, and the camp leader brainwashed the children.
I wouldn't affirm Rationalist's words 100%, but it's pretty messed up to teach children to believe in the otherworldly with such vigor.
Posted by: F00 | April 10, 2007 08:36 AM

Well, I clicked the comments button with complete anticipation that it would take a lot of courage to go against the grain and disagree wholeheartedly with the author.
What a surprise! For once, I seem to be with the majority. To be a little brutal, I cannot for the life of me understand how any intelligent person with an ounce of interest in current affairs, or history for that matter, wouldn't see religion for the blight to humanity that it is.
That said, I feel it is imperative to teach children everything about religion, that they be wary of those who promote it.
Posted by: Dave | April 10, 2007 09:15 AM

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:51 PM

KLB SS MD--

Sending you a smiling cat (kindhearted woman symbol). . .

Posted by: Marian | April 10, 2007 5:54 PM

:41: the following attacks were all lodged before 9:15 today.


patrick's first post was a 3:41 and was an attack on another persons religion, and since then it has been him attacking atheists.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:55 PM

":41: the following attacks were all lodged before 9:15 today.


patrick's first post was a 3:41 and was an attack on another persons religion, and since then it has been him attacking atheists."


Nice try sport. Still anonymous huh?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 5:57 PM

who has attacked your religion here today? you are doing all of the attacking on the atheists.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 05:41 PM

the question wasn't, who attacked pATRICK. it was, who has attacked [pATRICK's] religion here today.

pATRICK has been surprisingly circumspect about attacking ideas and not persons.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:58 PM

Well, perhaps people have criticized religion, but it's because a lot of harm has been done in this world in the name of religion. The crusades were fought in the name of religion. Now, the extremists are bombing us and each other in the name of religion. Men in the name of religion may have done some good in the world, but they surely have done a lot of bad as well.

I can't think of any wars or significant bloodshed that have been caused by atheism or agnosticism.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 5:59 PM

patrick's first post was a 3:41 and was an attack on another persons religion, and since then it has been him attacking atheists."


Nice try sport. Still anonymous huh?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 05:57 PM


Doesn't negate the truth of the statement.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:59 PM

yup. and still right.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 5:59 PM

pATRICK has been surprisingly circumspect about attacking ideas and not persons.

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 05:58 PM


NOT!!!!

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:01 PM

Well, perhaps people have criticized religion, but it's because a lot of harm has been done in this world in the name of religion. The crusades were fought in the name of religion. Now, the extremists are bombing us and each other in the name of religion. Men in the name of religion may have done some good in the world, but they surely have done a lot of bad as well."

EMILY strange you forget those things done by groups who denounced religion and God. Nazi's, Stalinists, POL POT, Communists. What is there death toll in the 20th century? 50 million ?100 million? . Religion is what keeps people from descending into complete barbarism. Strange how dictators hate religion and usually ban it immediately if they can. What are they afraid of? Little children going to sunday school? Singing a few hymns? or is it the knowledge that it is their mortal enemy?

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:10 PM

I think that to Patrick, the fact that a person is an atheist means that he is attacking god. To him, it is an overt act of aggression that he must defend.

probably true. just like the religious people get angry when an atheist says they find it offensive when others talk about religion. both ends are being dumb.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:11 PM

Has anyone noticed that pATRICK does not answer Emily's questions or engage in her discussion. This is because he knows he can't win.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:12 PM

groups who denounced religion and God. Nazi's


Nope. The Nazis were good Jew-hating Christians.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:13 PM

Did you say something anonymous coward? Didn't think so. Blog back when you can sign your name.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:14 PM

Well, perhaps people have criticized religion, but it's because a lot of harm has been done in this world in the name of religion. The crusades were fought in the name of religion. Now, the extremists are bombing us and each other in the name of religion. Men in the name of religion may have done some good in the world, but they surely have done a lot of bad as well.

I can't think of any wars or significant bloodshed that have been caused by atheism or agnosticism.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 05:59 PM

Funny, I can think of countless wasted lives, wasted eternities, and destroyed families attributable to atheism and agnostism.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:14 PM

Strange how dictators hate religion and usually ban it immediately if they can.

Like Hitler, Mussolini, Franco, Salazar, Marcos, Peron... Not to mention Islamic dictators throughout the Middle East.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:16 PM

I can think of countless wasted lives, wasted eternities, and destroyed families attributable to religion. Like Jonestown.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:17 PM

wasted lives, wasted eternities, and destroyed families attributable to religion

Don't forget the Holocaust and the Inquisition.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:18 PM

"EMILY strange you forget those things done by groups who denounced religion and God. Nazi's, Stalinists, POL POT, Communists.."

I actually thought about Stalin and communists, but came to the conclusion that their denouncing religion was just a means to a political end. Stalin starved the Ukrainians mostly to make them submissive, not so much because of their religious beliefs. With the Nazis as well, they weren't persecuting the Jews in the name of atheism. They were doing in to purify the master race (yuck). If they had been, they would have had to persecute all the Christian Germans as well. In all of these cases, atheism was just a secondary, collateral aspect of the horrific things that happened. It was not the stated reason for it.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:19 PM

gradeschool much?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:20 PM

gradeschool much?

Posted by: | April 10, 2007 06:20 PM


Huh?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:25 PM

EMILY, Communism explicitly seeks to destroy religion. Stalin used to house horses in churches to show his comtempt.The point is that these murderers set themselves up as their own religion in cult of personalities and unleashed mass killings. They were atheists and nihlists and since they did not believe in anything but their own destiny they had nothing to hold them back. Millions died because of this belief system.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:26 PM

Don't forget the Holocaust and the Inquisition.

There are multitudes of examples where atrocities were committed in the name of god. During the Reformation, there were lots of wars between the Catholics and the protestants, and between different sects of protestants. Bloody Mary has that name because she killed so many protestants in the name of the Catholic Church. Her father, Henry VIII, killed quite a few Catholics himself. It goes on and on.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:28 PM

Hitler and the Nazis blended germanic christian and pagan traditions with their racist ideology to build what Hitler considered his own religion. They fought atheists and Hitler claimed to wage war on the godless movement.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 6:33 PM

"Communism explicitly seeks to destroy religion. Stalin used to house horses in churches to show his comtempt.The point is that these murderers set themselves up as their own religion in cult of personalities and unleashed mass killings."

I will grant that flawed people will do horrendous things in the name of almost anything, including atheism. But they will also do it in the name of God. Having religion does not exempt people from atrocious crimes. Perhaps being atheist does not either. In the end, it's pretty much a wash, and has more to do with flawed people and less to do with belief or nonbelief in god.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:33 PM

Don't forget the Holocaust and the Inquisition.

There are multitudes of examples where atrocities were committed in the name of god. During the Reformation, there were lots of wars between the Catholics and the protestants, and between different sects of protestants. Bloody Mary has that name because she killed so many protestants in the name of the Catholic Church. Her father, Henry VIII, killed quite a few Catholics himself. It goes on and on."

Frankly they pale in comparison to Hitler and Stalin. The Holocaust was carried out by the SS, hardly a "christian" organization. You are falling for an argument that is rather stale. I don't discount what was done mistakenly by men who twisted the christian message into bloody atrocities but that is not the underlying message of Jesus.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:34 PM

Well, that's it for me.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:35 PM

As someone said before, Hitler was a Christian. He was not an atheist. And he killed the Jews based on their race and religion. I would consider that another example of hate crimes committed for religious reasons.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:36 PM

As someone said before, Hitler was a Christian. He was not an atheist. And he killed the Jews based on their race and religion. I would consider that another example of hate crimes committed for religious reasons.


THAT IS NOT TRUE! Hitler was not a christian! He set up his won religion based on himself. Where in the world do you get the idea he was a christian? (I was lurking)

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:39 PM

"The Holocaust was carried out by the SS, hardly a "christian" organization. You are falling for an argument that is rather stale. I don't discount what was done mistakenly by men who twisted the christian message into bloody atrocities but that is not the underlying message of Jesus."

But doesn't it ever give you pause about the people who claim to speak on behalf of Jesus today? The majority of German Christians supported the Third Reich; Hitler espoused Christian theology. These atrocities were not committed in a vacuum, they were supported by the believers of the time. People of faith and atheists can be blinded to truth and justice equally well.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 6:40 PM

Hitler did consider himself a Christian. Read Mein Kampf (if you can stomach it).

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:46 PM

Unfortunately for the world, there are mass-murdering f***heads who are atheists, and there are mass-murdering f***heads who are religious. What they have in common is their inability to see other people's intrinsic humanity and right to freedom.

Similarly, we have atheist ignoramuses who cannot see the humanity of people of faith (pATRICK's parents?), and we have the religious ignoramuses who cannot see the humanity and intrinsic worth of people (his own children, even!) who may not be religious (pATRICK).

Posted by: Onymous | April 10, 2007 6:47 PM

The majority of German Christians supported the Third Reich; Hitler espoused Christian theology."

I dispute this on several counts. One, more christians should have opposed Hitler. Two, in a brutal police state opposition can be extremely deadly. It is much different than what we have here. Hitler did not truly espouse anything because he was the biggest liar the world had ever seen. You are correct they did not happen in a vaccuum, many people shamefully helped. The shame is greater on Christians than on atheists because they betrayed their Lord. But make no mistake, Hitler committed those acts to satisfy his own bloodlust.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:47 PM

"Similarly, we have atheist ignoramuses who cannot see the humanity of people of faith (pATRICK's parents?), and we have the religious ignoramuses who cannot see the humanity and intrinsic worth of people (his own children, even!) who may not be religious (pATRICK). "

Well you got part of it right. Religion is all about the intrinsic value of every human being as God's children. I believe that as the creator of human beings and the universe God has the authority to proclaim that intrinsic value. I differ with athiests who view THEMSELVES as the ultimate arbiter of human beings value.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 6:52 PM

The other day, I was having a discussion with my son about religion, and I told him that some people believe that god created the universe and everything in it. His question to me was "Who created god?"

I thought it was a very good question. I could never understand why some people feel the need to believe that god created the universe, and that they don't wonder about who created god.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 6:55 PM

" One, more christians should have opposed Hitler. Two, in a brutal police state opposition can be extremely deadly. It is much different than what we have here. Hitler did not truly espouse anything because he was the biggest liar the world had ever seen. "

Neither of your points change the fact that so many christians supported, either passively or actively, the Third Reich. Nor does it change the fact that Hitler very emphatically and repeatedly espoused Christian theology in his speeches and writings. You may have your beliefs about what his real motivations were, and we may even agree on that, but the fact remains that Christianity played a major role in Nazism, and your original statement that the it was an atheistic movement is not correct.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 6:59 PM

EMILY why don't you take him to a church of your choosing, then he can learn all about GOD.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:00 PM

Ignorance is bliss.

Truly, many people are agnostic/atheist because they want to ask deeper questions about why the world is the way it is and the traditional church view doesn't satisfy them.

To Seattle: Are you saying that people who do ask deep questions about why the world is the way it is, but the traditional church view DOES satisfy them, are ignorant?

Posted by: curious non-mother | April 10, 2007 7:03 PM

"EMILY why don't you take him to a church of your choosing, then he can learn all about GOD."

I don't take him to church because I haven't found any church that does anything for me. When he gets older, if he wants to explore religion, I will certainly support him in his efforts. And if he does develop faith, that would be fine with me. Right now, we like to sleep late and eat pancakes on Sundays.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 7:03 PM

but the fact remains that Christianity played a major role in Nazism, and your original statement that the it was an atheistic movement is not correct."

You seem to be falling for a politician wrapping himself up in a flag or in this case religion. Hitler could use whatever lie he could conjur up, that does NOT make him a Christian. The shift into madness was subtle and evil. I doubt that he would have stood up in a church and say let's kill children in gas chambers and start a world war and gotten very far with anyone.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:03 PM

EMILY, the real reason is that YOU don't believe in religion so you are defacto teaching him the same. That is the cop out of atheism. That is your right but realize it for what it is.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:06 PM

so much for a conversation about balance. Have you guys been waiting for years for a forum to vent about the evils of belief?

One comment, fine. Ten, getting a bit much.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 7:07 PM

"You seem to be falling for a politician wrapping himself up in a flag or in this case religion"

You could say that about almost anyone who claims to espouse any religious belief. It does not change the fact that for centuries, hideous acts have been commited in the name of Christianity (as well as other religions). They may have not been true Christians, but still, they used their religion to rationalize their evil acts.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 7:10 PM

"You seem to be falling for a politician wrapping himself up in a flag or in this case religion."

No, I'm not. But I also don't believe that you get to decide who is Christian and who is not in order to support your views of atheists. You are simply trying to define your religion narrowly enough to exclude people who undermine your point, no matter how intricately involved they are with religion.

The fact that the shift was slow and subtle is exactly the problem, and is exactly the thing that religious people are just as susceptible to as non-religious people. There is no difference, no matter how hard you try to define bad people out of religion. You are determined to make atheists bad and religious people good, and by doing so, I think you are even more susceptible to falling for something that is hateful or unjust, because you are not aware of your own weaknesses, which are the same as mine and everyone elses.

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 7:11 PM

EMILY, just out of curiosity if your son decided to join a friend at church on a regular basis, where would that leave you? Silent? encouraging?, thundering on the evils of belief? I sadly think that given your posts, you are only paying lip service to the idea of him finding his faith.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:13 PM

EMILY, the real reason is that YOU don't believe in religion so you are defacto teaching him the same.

Patrick, the difference between us is that you teach your children that there is one true god and that they must believe in him or be subject to his (and your) wrath.

I, on the other hand, tell my son that I don't have any answers about god for him. That in time, he will have to figure these things out himself, and that when the time comes, I will help him seek out resources that will help him find the answers to his questions. And that I will love him regardless of what he believes in, as long as he is a good, kind and honest person, which is what counts in the end. And yes, it is my right to raise my child according to my beliefs and values, just as it is your right to raise your children according to yours. I would no more expect you to raise your kids as atheists/agnostics as you should expect me to raise mine as Christian. I don't consider it a cop out. I consider it consistent parenting.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 7:16 PM

MEGAN, my beef is with your unflinching acceptance of what HITLER says. I can say anything, if my actions are 180 degrees the other way, it is safe to say that I am not what I say I am. Christians are not perfect, smarter than others,better, they are just simply forgiven.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:16 PM

your son decided to join a friend at church on a regular basis, where would that leave you? Silent? encouraging?, thundering on the evils of belief?

I would encourage it, if he truly wanted to do it. At the very least, it would teach him something new and give him something to think about. And if it did provide him with an abiding faith in god that gave him comfort, I would be happy for him. Just because I don't feel it does not mean that I would ever begrudge him that experience.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 7:18 PM

First off EMILY, I raise my children to know GOD who loves them and wants them to be happy. We don't cower fearing the wrath of the Lord. If my children grow up to be athiests it will make me sad but I will have done my duty to introduce them to their savior. The choice to believe will come from their heart not the fear of the wrath of God. I will still love them but I will not sacrifice my reltionship with Jesus. My problem with athiests is that they cop out and say if they want to go I will support them. Generally what will happen is that the athiest at every turn will try to squash them. I know I lived it. Parents have very powerful influences on their kids.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:22 PM

pATRICK -- I disagree with your characterization of how Emily might handle her son's potential embrace of religion. However, assuming she did not encourage him, or even actively discouraged him, why is this an issue? If he truly "found" his faith, then that faith should sustain him in the face of doubters, including his mother. Just as it has sustained you in the face of your parents' disbelief.

Posted by: Vegas Mom | April 10, 2007 7:23 PM

EMILY,I really am gone. Hope you and MEGAN have a nice evening.

Posted by: pATRICK | April 10, 2007 7:24 PM

Patrick, you know your own experience with your parents, which is unfortunate. You cannot generalize from that experience that all atheists/agnostics want to squash religion. Most of the people I know who are atheists don't really care what other people believe either way. They are more of the live and let live variety. I would actually consider myself more agnostic than atheist. I just don't know. Maybe there is a god. He just has not made himself known to me. Maybe he will someday. Maybe not. But I have no problem with people who believe in god, as long as their actions are honorable and not hypocritical.

Posted by: Emily | April 10, 2007 7:27 PM

"You cannot generalize from that experience that all atheists/agnostics want to squash religion."

Generalizing from the Crusades to suggest that all present-day Christians want to start wars and commit murder is acceptable, though. Nice.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 10, 2007 7:31 PM

There is this atheist swimming in the ocean. All of the sudden he sees this shark in the water, so he starts swimming towards his boat.

As he looks back he sees the shark turn and head towards him. His boat is a ways off and he starts swimming like crazy. He's scared to death, and as he turns to see the jaws of the great white beast open revealing its teeth in a horrific splendor, the atheist screams, "Oh God! Save me!"

In an instant time is frozen and a bright light shines down from above. The man is motionless in the water when he hears the voice of God say, "You are an atheist. Why do you call upon me when you do not believe in me?"

Aghast with confusion and knowing he can't lie the man replies, "Well, that's true I don't believe in you, but how about the shark? Can you make the shark believe in you?"

The Lord replies, "As you wish," and the light retracted back into the heavens and the man could feel the water begin to move once again.

As the atheist looks back he can see the jaws of the shark start to close down on him, when all of sudden the shark stops and pulls back.

Shocked, the man looks at the shark as the huge beast closes its eyes and bows its head and says, "Thank you Lord for this food for which I am about to receive..."

Posted by: Jokester | April 10, 2007 7:36 PM

That was a very interesting exchange between Emily and pATRICK. I'm glad to see both parties holding their own in such a civil manner. I'm a bit chagrined that I wasn't part of it, but I doubt I could compete at such a level. :-)

I wonder, in much the same way that young daughters of oppresively Catholic parents are reputed to run wild in their teens, perhaps pATRICK did the opposite. Maybe his faith is his rebellion against his vehemently Atheist parents.

I think the lesson we can all take away here is, regardless of one's affiliation, all things in moderation.

Even a cold, heartless Atheist like myself can see some value in theism. And I'm sure pATRICK's heart is not completely awash in contempt for all of us. He has to leave room for hatred of gays and women as well.

Oh, I'm just kidding, pATRICK. ;-) I actually have a great deal of respect for you, even if we disagree on pretty much everything.

Posted by: Mona | April 10, 2007 8:29 PM

pATRICK,
At least you have the unwavering courage of your convictions and do not back down. And you do so without resorting to name calling. For that you earn my respect even if I don't always agree.

Posted by: KLB SS MD | April 10, 2007 8:41 PM

pATRICK, if you check back, I hope you have a good evening too. I just got my little guy to sleep and am looking forward to a relaxing evening with my husband.

I do want to clarify though that I don't think that Hitler was a Christian in any true sense, and I agree that he used Christian rhetoric for his own purposes as he realized that the majority of Germans were Christian and he needed their support to gain power. (Though I would not doubt that he thought himself divine in some way as he became more powerful and more mad.) However, his rhetoric and his use of theological language and symbolism was very effective and he did draw in support from large numbers of people who did consider themselves Christian and believed him when he said that he was doing God's work. That is what I mean when I say Christianity played a role in the rise of Nazism.

Also, I think this comment from you finally helped me understand more of where you are coming from, and has given me some food for thought, so thanks:
"Christians are not perfect, smarter than others,better, they are just simply forgiven."

Have a good night!

Posted by: Megan | April 10, 2007 9:46 PM

to KB SS MD

The dog did fine and is going to be okay.

I really enjoyed this blog.

pATRICK, Emily and Megan, you all are fantastic people to read.

Posted by: Episcopal minister's daughter | April 11, 2007 7:37 AM

You missed the point completely and I am not surprised. By NOT refuting an attack on your mother, you are in essence allowing it to stand. You cannot love your mother and allow vicious attacks on her in the name of "tolerance" . It is hypocritical and demeans your relationship.

*snort*

What do you say after you have seen the police report?

Posted by: Anonymous | April 11, 2007 8:54 AM

Also, I think this comment from you finally helped me understand more of where you are coming from, and has given me some food for thought, so thanks:
"Christians are not perfect, smarter than others,better, they are just simply forgiven."

Christianity is a blank check, in other words. You can murder anyone you choose, in as vie and depraved a fashion as you desire, but as long as you say "sorry" to God and really mean it, it's OKAY! You get to go to heaven and worship God forever and ever and ever...in some religions you even get a bunch of virgins (male too?).

What's not to love? Ultimately, you are not responsible for what you have done.

Say the magic words in the magic place and *poof*, everything is okay.

In the meanwhile, you get to be smug and self-righteous.

Posted by: to pATRICK | April 11, 2007 8:57 AM

meily, i know this is very late, but if you read this i think what you are talking about is agnostism, not atheism. Atheist believe in something that they cannot prove-- they believe that there is no God. Agnostics aren't sure one way or the other. I think atheism is a religion-- it has it's beliefs. Agnositism is not a religion, although agnostics can certainly be spiritual. And they probably have better sex than atheists! (I've also read that children rasied by atheist don't test as high on SAT as agnostic kids-- probably because agnosticism fosters an open, inquiring mind whereas atheism does not.)

REgarding my comment about regular church attendance leads to better sex-- I don't think it's so much "more" sex-- it's the quality that improves. organisms so awesome on a Sunday afternoon after a stirring sermon and soaring music that you just can't see straight for hours afterwards!

Posted by: Jen | April 12, 2007 10:53 AM

Sorry, the above was intended for Emily, but she is so smart I'm sure she figured that out. And that what I wrote was in response to something she posted an hour or so before she posted something acknowledging that she is probably more of the agnositic than the atheist pursuasion.

Posted by: Jen | April 12, 2007 11:22 AM

Megan, you wrote "Christianity played a role in the rise of Nazism." What role did atheism play in defeating the Nazis?

I haven't heard of any-- that instead there were many Chrisitans, Jews and agnostic people who died attempting to defeat the NAzis-- and many did so inspired by their faith or spirituality. think of all those thousands of crosses on the French beaches. Maybe some of those who volunteered to fight were atheists, but looking around today at who is getting things accomplished for the greater good in this world, it there are far more who are supported and insipred by their faith than there are atheists.

I really just don't understand atheism. How can one read the Kahlil Gabran poem posted above and then confidently argue that there is no God in the face of such mystery, genius and love?

Posted by: Jen | April 12, 2007 11:38 AM

think of all those thousands of crosses on the French beaches.

Yeah? So? You know they simply tossed those over everyone's grave unless they knew they were Jewish.

As for the existence of God, prove that God exists.

But personally, I really don't care if there is a god, or gods, anyway. If it makes you behave yourself better, then go for it.

By the way, I bet you meant "orgasm" rather than "organism". It was a funny kind of slip of the fingers.

Posted by: Anonymous | April 12, 2007 2:00 PM

Writing about sex makes me so darn excited I'm surprized if that's the only misspelling I made!

If you don't see the existance of G-d, I can't help you. I see it everywhere. The fact remains you can't prove that G-d doesn't exist.

I'm still waiting to hear about all the great things that atheists have done . . . Any atheist alternative to the Red Cross/ Red Cresent? Were the members of the French Resistence atheists?

I didn't know that about the crosses being forced on people even if they were avowed atheists. i think that's terrible. if it had been my child who had fought and died, I would have beed furious if a cross had been raised over them that they didn't recognize. It cheapens our choices and our faiths.

But then again, maybe atheists didn't volunteer to fight anyway. all the atheists I know of that were from that era (all 3-- so small sample for sure) didn't volunteer and somehow got out of the draft. So that is where I'm coming from.

Posted by: Jen | April 12, 2007 4:24 PM

To scarry who said: It was a wonderful thing when we found a synagogue in spain and went to services and then were invited to someone's apt. For dinner. Doesn't happen as much, I believe in the christian church.

Maybe it just doesn't happen as much in America because people are afraid to go to strangers houses.

I live in a Jewish community in Texas and "it" does happen in America all the time. We would never let a stranger eat alone on on the Sabbath ... unless they want to : )

Posted by: Robin | April 13, 2007 4:08 PM

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