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Billy Graham's daughter was being interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this happen?" regarding 9-11-01. And Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said "I believe that God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman that He is, I believe that He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand that He leave us alone?"

I think at the very least "God" (allah, buddha, etc) is an idea. An idea, that whether you believe it real or fiction, either way one should always hold it near to their heart. In essence sorta like a childs imaginary friend. And actually, I dont see why the bible can't be taught in school. The main idea behind this decision, as I understand it, is to prevent forcing a child or family of another religion to be subject to the, pretty much, sole promotion of Christianity. So whats the issue if the nation implements a "Religion class?" Teaching all religions or as many as possible (though "all" is feasable due to individual report projects), and that includes atheism as well. After all, including atheism, religion has a strong tie to all of our roots. Everyone of us. How many times when youve heard people ask "what religion are you?" do you at least hear something along the lines of "Well my parents raised me catholic, but I dont believe that bullshit I guess Im (fill in appropriate word)." We all believe in freedom of speech and freedom of belief....or at least many of us do. But how truly free of a choice is it, when in this busy world the choices aren't laid out fairly infront of us to understand, accept, and/or dismiss at an early enough point in our personal development? The point where "right and wrong" are inscribed into our being. Just a thought....

posted by StU aRt on Apr 12, 2002 10:22AM

Robbie Fulks has a different view from Anne Graham:

 A world filled with wonder, a cold, fathomless sky
 A man's life so meager, he can but wonder why
 He cries out to Heaven its truth to reveal
 The answer: only silence, for God isn't real.

Go ask the starving millions under Stalin's cruel reign
Go ask the child with cancer who eases her pain
Then go to your churches, if that's how you feel
But don't ask me to follow, for God isn't real.

 He forms in his image a weak and foolish man
 Speaks to him in symbols that few understand
 For a life of devotion, the death blow he deals
 We'd owe Him only hatred, but God isn't real.

Go tell the executioner of the power he can't defy
Go tell his shackled victim of the mercy on high...
Then go to your churches, go beg, pray, and kneel,
But don't ask me to follow, for God isn't real.

No, no matter how He should be, God isn't real.

posted by Zach Beane on Apr 12, 2002 10:56AM

Robbie Fulks and Anne Graham have formed their own educated opinions, both of which I highly respect. Both were interpreted through two different sets of eyes and ears, and formed inside 2 minds containing entirely different memories and personal experiences of which to relate their beliefs to. I guess its kinda like the optimist, and the pessimist (though aknowledging...none of us know which side of that "god" is on) the glass half full? Or half empty? When you open your eyes and your mind do you feel the anger, and hatred in the world...and perhaps what may seem like hell on earth? Or do you see the beautiful rose with its thorns? Or do you just see....the beautiful rose? Perhaps divulging into the "idea" of god....comes after this.
posted by StU aRt on Apr 12, 2002 11:14AM

Ah yes, belief. Just cause somebody believes something doesn't mean its true. So... even assuming god is real, Anne Grahm's personal beliefs about what thoughts are running around in his head (if he has a head) are about as relevant to reality as someone believeing that there's a giant thunderbird, or a guy that shoots lightning bolts from his throne on the mountain that you cant see, or a giant sea monster that lives beyond the horizon. Maybe her great and vengful god (gentleman, yeah right) is "up there" laughing his ass off... how would she know? She cited her belief, now let's see some proof.
Another thing about " could God let this happen...." Why don't we just blame everything on some invisible being so that we could be absolved of all guilt and feel good about ourselves. "The devil made me do it. I'm not really bad. It was that guy in the red pantsuit. He led me into temptation. God should have stepped in, but he didn't so it's not my fault." That mindset does nothing for the idea of responsibility for one's own actions and therefore is the antithesis of all that binds society together and holds chaos at bay. (On the other hand, maybe a little chaos is desireable.) "Oh yeah, and by the way... it's YOUR fault that I did what I did cause YOU don't love MY god and you banished him from your schools and government and life. I think I'll kill you now, you heathen." (And so here begineth the great religious war whereforth many sinners and heathens are to be cleansed of this earth so that god mayl ruleth the world with a kind and caring hand [except for those dammned sinner upon whom he will visit plagues and locusts and frogs and then he'll torture with almighty fire and then he'll kill them. And they'll DIE.] And then we'll all live happily in perfect unison and harmony [until one of you starts thinking "bad thoughts" and we have to come into your house and burn you at the stake. and your wife. and your kids. and your dog, your chickens, your food, your neckties, your sox... We will be forced to kill you. And you'll DIE. But that's not the end. Oh no... you just wait.].)
I've got no problem with the idea of morality, but I learned mine from my parents, not from a god. I do have a problem with people using their religion to try to coerce and manipulate the world and other people to conform to their personal idea of utopia. Generally speaking, it seems that utopia can't exist. That's when they resort to using religion as a means of control in a particularly UN-democratic fashion. That seems to me to be the underlying purpose of the Grahms in their public statement of their personal beliefs.
posted by Clint Phipps on Apr 12, 2002 11:58AM

mmmmm.......yes, I do feel that Mz. Grahams opinion sounded a bit "point the finger-ish," and she sounds as though she views her god as a truly exhisting being. However one can still choose to read into it differently, as if "God" is an idea rather than an entity. And yes, in the old testement, god was a vengeful being, perhaps even "unfair," and sometimes unleashing hell to have things "his" way. But continuing on in the story of the bible, I see more of a "child wielding supreme powers," if you will, who learned and matured and makes mistakes as we do, and around the middle of the story....out comes his "son" (whom some people feel was god incarnate). And this man named jesus, who science even claims existed, though whether or not he was the son of god cannot be proved, and the scientific community obviously leans towards him being just a man....perhaps a great man, but just a man. Never the less his teachings and stories and words are one of the biggest basis' of christianity, and in his teachings we see a vengeful god morph into one of forgiving, and love, and truly a father figure who would love his children, and in the end let them make their own decisions. Christianity took a different twist when jesus entered the scene. The historical jesus is thought to have studied many religions of his time.....buddhism for example. And in the end he formed his own opinions and ideas, and tried to teach us how to love, and forgive. The biblical jesus is more of a god incarnate, who put himself here as gods son, to see both sides of the story, and to see what it was truly like to be "human." And just perhaps...if this were fact not fiction, perhaps he learned another lesson. Though it is just a movie, not the words of the bible or history/theology books, or god....a couple quotes from it were kinda thought provoking. In the movie Dogma (yes...that kevin smith, Jay and Silent bob flik about all this crap) the Muse says something along the line of: You catholics mourn your faith, and take it as a burden. Humans got it all wrong...its not what your faith is, or whos is right or wrong, but simply that you have faith, something to celebrate and make you happy. Unfortunately those are not the exact words, I can't find a quote from the web yet and if someone can find it for me, I will gladly edit this when I get them. The other quote (again the best I can remember it and will replace if I can find the actual quote) comes from 13th apostle, and is unfortunately a deleted scene I think. He says something along the lines of: You know jesus never divulged into the one thing that you humans hold so precious to your being. And I believe its Jay who says: And rufus says: no stupid....debate. You humans need debate. You need to prove right and wrong, to yourselves AND each other. One of the things I remember about jesus is he just loooved to listen. We'd be sitting around the fire arguing about this or that....and the times I saw him most content was when he just listened to us.
I think I may have partially been misunderstood. its not my intention to direct this conversation in the direction of whether God is real or not this time.....its simply about being able to be exposed to what all our cultures have manifested over thousands of years to be what is the best of themselves, because I believe that most, if not all, religions in the world hold true what most of us would call "possitive values." And only when we've heard truly what they're all about do I think that we can honestly, to ourselves and the world we see, decide to dismiss them all, or find the one we believe in. Because to fully satisfy your soul or being "at the end of the day," I think we all have to believe in something....even if its just the concept of love or hate.
posted by StU aRt on Apr 12, 2002 12:59PM

I myself have never been a stickler for religion.Most of it doesnt fit in with proven history. And i despise those worshipers of the jahovah faith that come door to door and haras people. Why put yourself into someplace you know you are not wanted.It doesn't matter how assinine you act towards them, they always come back. I don't mind other people believing in religion , just as long as they do not attempt to push their religious beliefs on me. Yes i admit i went to church and did all the "christian" things, until i found my preacher was an alcoholic that is. It wouldnt bother me what religion my friends or family members have. But for me the whole aspect just seems a little far fetched.
posted by tabitha morse on Apr 12, 2002 08:06PM

here's some thoughts about belief:

Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God's action in them find that God's spirit is in them--living and breathing God.

It's what we trust in but don't see that keeps us [christians] going.

Saving is all God's idea and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to do it. It's God's gift from start to finish. We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing!

It's impossible to believe God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows it's true colors.

Don't let yourself get taken in by religious smooth talk. God gets furious with people who are full of religious sales talk but want nothing to do with him.

People ruin their lives with their own stupidity. So why does God always get blamed?

It's true that moral guidance and counsel need to be given, but the way you say it and to whom you say it are as important as what you say.

It pays to take life seriously. Things work out when you trust in God.

and here's my fave, lastly....
Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and belief are coherent.

(references are Romans 8:5, 2 Corinthians 5:7
, Ephesians 2:8-9, Hebrews 11:6, James 1:3, Ephesians 5:6, Proverbs 19:3,1 timothy 1:8,
Proverbs16:20,Romans 14:22 respectively, all from the new testament)

Faith is what we have. Faith in the waiting room of the world. Not a big mac and coke type of faith but a nine course meal type of faith. Patience and faith go hand in hand. We simply must believe that it's worth the wait.

posted by Ever Curious on Apr 12, 2002 08:31PM

I believe in Music.
I believe in Love.
posted by Cody Phipps on Apr 17, 2002 02:13PM

posted by StU aRt on Apr 18, 2002 09:37AM

To Zach and Robbie:
There is a story about a man who saw hunger and he turned to God and asked why doesn't he do anything about it, than he saw suffering and again he asked the same question and so on when God finally answered: I did do something about it. I created you but you are not doing anythin about it.
So I ask you this. when was the last time you have organized help for starving and do not tell me you can't do it on your own. And Robbie why don't ask the hungryones and you will see the answer. I live in Bosnia and God was the only who was here all the time.
We can do so much more. Do you even know where is war on now? So do not judge God because we are not doing anything. "God doesn't have no other hands but yours"
posted by maja vakac on Aug 18, 2002 01:58PM