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April 16, 2006

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Kristen has done it again. Her Easter-inspired post got me thinking about my own religious beliefs, especially since I spent this past week and weekend in a near-constant state of church attendance: all the way from Holy Thursday to Good [Read More]

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To Whom It May Concern:
(Bd)

[Some SMS from (-&-A_) Rustic – Halcyon—: ---542]
--------0----------

Someone may mean cutting
Someone may mean harvesting.
Someone may pay the bill
Someone may value the deal.

May be Dina, May be Zilla;
But breaking is breaking.

Blind may not have the sight, but may know;
All may have the sight, but may not know
“Tarmuj is eatable and Lau is cookable”.

All become fan when he eats
All become blind when he needs.

Rail is a path and Meghna is a Hradh
But end is what?

May be ash and crash,
Or may be crest of stairs.

(-&-A_)
-------0------

Someone cautions earlier,
Some wait to help by pulling and nursing.
Some makes whole as a trough,
Some makes whole to push others,
You know who are the true believers!

(-&-A_)
----0----


Patient with Uh! Uh!
Comes wherein the doctor.

Doctor says
Do(-), Do(-), Do(-)
And do not Do(-)

Got, Got, Got
All difficult all;
Save the V_
And alter the D_.

Doctors and doctors
Uh! Uh! Aa!a-ha!

Patients are P_
What about D_?
Where is V_?

You can C_
Who is the D_
Where is he.

He isn’t “He”
“He” is waiting for all
And he is who waiting for what all do.

(-&-A_)
---0----

I expect a nice issue!
- of course.

How do you know?
- if you want of course you will able to see.

She feels something,
The neighbor hear shouts,
She is alone on the bed,
Doctors cut and find,
She gets the sense back and
Taking on the chest –what was found
She shouts:
“Oh! My husband just see
what a- issue as like as you”.

The husband gets a new life
But remains as a lost one to the wife and to the neighbor.


(-&-A_)

----0----

Lips on panch-ghar
Right leg on Tek-enough
Left leg folded on sundaries
You know what on Ku-o Chador.
Conditions available at free of cost
I agree as I need one only.
One is better that Ku-o.

(-&-A_)
---0---

Understand?

Someone can and someone can’t

“Which one is Groho and
Which one is Nakkhatro”.

Someone may and
Someone may not,
But you-

“Who is on the road
and who is on the river”

None but He can –
C_ and/or D_, or may B_- (?)
You may understand _- ;
Or may stand (?)
what a substandard!


(-&-A_)

---0---

“We are Elephants
And you are –-“

Muslims may not be Muslims
But Elephants are Animals.

Should or should not,
But the fact is that
The Elephants are the leaders of so called Muslims.

There may have someone to teach human beings
What actually mean by
“Rijik is determined by Him”.
But is there anyone to teach that Elephants
That opined : “Imaner jor dekhaiso, Ekhon Allah sara onno karo kase kisu chaite parbi na.”
And thereafter asking:” Are you Allah? Why did or will you give him job?’?

(-&-A_)


Try to ensure that the persons who engaged in that relation, that needs marriage, with any one where marriage is prohibited be non-eligible for any of the positions of (i) the members of the managing committee of the house of the father (ii) the chief of justice (iii) the chief of the national institution that possesses holy Gilaph from Arab (iv) Vcs of the public universities and (v) the chief of the c-ry; and ensure that the highest punishment be applied for any concealment of fact in this respect.

(-&-A_)
---0---

Confirm that the coming C.J not engaged in that relation (explained earlier), and apply proper treatment in case of concealment of fact.

(-&-A_)
---0---


I expect that you complete ASAP the arrangement of handing over the position needed to survive and to obey the will of the Father by helping all to get the path to peace, and the arrangement to award who deserves-in compliance with the will of the respected Father- the residence which is now being occupied by the husband of the c-ry.

(-&-A_)


act of a person who never tell a lie: As the morning of the birthday of only one young daughter takes place, the father tells his beloved daughter a story of a boy that he believes the best for his daughter and he asks his daughter to meet and invite the boy on the occasion of the day.
The obliged daughter reaches the office of that boy accordingly. Showing the visiting card of that boy where the name of that boy is written as " M. K. Chakrobakra" asks the receptionist " I came to meet this person, do you know him?".
The receptionist wants to know the purpose and replies:
-"Of course,
- many people know him as Chakrobakro dada(brother),
- do you know what the letter M and K implies here ?
"Sorry, I have heard about him just today"- the lady says.
Do not you know him?
"No, if he permits, it would be our first introducing day,
Please arrange an appointment"
No appointment is required. Look at the card. Here M is printed to denote Modon and K for Kumar, - taking a breath he says:
- "I am not any officer, I am a receptionist, my name is Modon Kumar, everyone in this office knows me as Modon Kumar,
- but people like and look for Chakrobakro dada.
- I am a very petty servant."
The daughter asked: "Are you Mr. M. K. Chakrobakro?"
"Please do not mistake, all visitors do the same mistake" – the receptionist replies.
Taking a pen and a copy of the same card from his pocket, he says with angry tone:
" I am not telling lie.
- Is it your card?
- is it your pen?
These are given by Mr. Chakrobakro."
"You can say – showing the lady’s hand that is carrying the card, receptionist tells
- that piece of paper is now your property as it is already given to you".
The lady is not any exception of earlier visitors. She pays birthday card to the receptionist.
Why are you doing mistake? –taking a long breath, the receptionist says:
-"Go to Mr. Chakrobakro’s room,
-he is my boss
- I am a very petty servant.
- please do not push me in trouble,
- I cannot carry this invaluable gift and
- I cannot dare to ring him now.
- You can directly go to his room,
-he permits anyone unless it is lunch or prayer break".
"I have committed a great mistake, please do not mind – the lady replies
-my father actually gave me the wrong information about you,
-however he will blame me if you do not come to day,
- I like to enjoy the day with you."

Perception

There is only one Creator.

All human beings will face HIS justice.

Heaven and hell are not for any particular religion.

Religions show the ways to live in such a manner that help the followers feel HIS existence always and thereby restrain them from committing sin.

Believers are those who can rely on HIM and do not fear anything at any place in establishing right. Such devoutness on HIM restrains human beings from the influence of power, money, emotion that induce for committing sin. Human beings never should dare to test or examine others’ depth of devoutness on Him as there is the Creator who is the best justice for doing so. Human beings can ask only if any one’s activities or attitudes are harmful or disturbing for others.

Everyone has his/her own ability and ability to receive advices from others and ability to perceive HIS existence. Devil should not be given any chance in form of any greed or fear when someone is acting with others. His/her attitudes, behavior and relationship with anyone should only be settled by what S/he has and by the same of the person(s) to whom S/he is acting; and must not be imposed or dominated by any third person(s) unless the counter party is abusing power.

As there is the Creator who is the most powerful and the best judge, human beings should not dare to give any punishment when a person(s) is committing sin with HIM in attending prayer or in any other form that does not affect no other human beings, but can only advise and remind that person(s).

There are some sins that affect others and there are some sins that do not affect others. Human beings’ efforts to establish justice should be confined to the extent to which the sinful activities affect others. Regardless of the power and position of the guilty, the society should compel the guilty, if his/her activities wrongfully affect others, to compensate. The Creator can forgive anyone, if the person prays for the apology with pure mind. If the person purely wants to be relieved from the curse of sin, s/he must be willing to sacrifice everything. If the sin affects others adversely, the person must be willing to sacrifice everything to compensate for the victim. Though HE can do everything, forgiveness is subject to the criminal’s efforts to compensate and sacrifice for their misdeeds. For gaining self benefit, no one should harm others. Human beings can commit harm to a concerned criminal only for the purpose of protecting dominated innocents.

Setting belief doesn’t mean setting belief on any particular religion. It means to believe that everything is visible to HIM, HE can read our minds, and our minds know what is good and what is bad. Good and bad in the sense of its impact on self and others.

Human beings represent HIM when they think and act for the welfares. Human beings may be influenced by the devil when they harm others for getting self benefit. Human beings may fall in trap by the devil as it is given some power by The Creator. But human beings must be able to leave the devil by leaving greed and deceitful act of exploiting others. It is possible by strengthening the devoutness to The Creator.

If someone is adversely affected by a person(s) who accepts and discloses his misdeed, the victim can protest, can ask for the explanation, can demand compensation and can ask anyone for help and The Creator may mercy the criminal upon his prayers provided that the criminal does not abuse his worldly power to undermine the victim. If the criminal abuses his power and the victim is helpless i.e. if the victim can not compel the criminal, the victim asks only to The Creator for help. The Creator does not accept the mercy petition by the criminal(who is bearing the curse of the victim) unless the criminal compensates. If the criminal disagree or conceal the fact or commit the misdeed and do not let the victim know, (the criminal is bearing the curse of the victim) the creator will not accept his mercy petition unless the criminal becomes willing to sacrifice and compensate.

Both the heaven and hell are created for human beings. Only The Creator will determine the fate. Human beings should not bother what will happen, attending prayers certainly do not ensure anything, they should attend prayers so that they can keep them free from committing sin and free from curse of others and thereby can be spiritual and confident. No one should dare to test the belief and devotion of others. It is only The Creator can and do the test always. The fate will be determined based on not only the prayers, but on the extent to which they are receiving and implementing the teaching of prayers.

Attending prayers can help human beings strengthen the devoutness to HIM with the knowledge that HE maintains equality in paying rewards and punishment based on activities on earth. Prayers develop the valence for rewards at resurrection, and it is his/her activities, attitudes and relationship with others that contributes to the development of expectancy of getting desired results.

A human being is sent on earth not for him/herself only, what they are given, given for all. Everyone is given some capability. They must use it to render benefits for themselves and for others without committing harm to any innocent. If anyone can pass the life without committing harm to any innocent and can sacrifice for and contribute to the wellbeing of others except criminals who still do not apology with pure mind, if s/he is free from the curse of others except any concerned criminals, and always remember and try to please the Creator, will reach haven regardless of the religions s/he belong to.

Telling lie and concealing a fact are not the same. Similarly a true speech may not present the truth. A true speech sometimes may be treated as a sin, if it creates contradiction in revealing a fact and if there is a bad intention of getting self benefit undermining others. The speakers know which one is a sin and which one is not a sin.

Everyone can feel HIS existence if everyone can stay isolated for some time and can view the world as nothing and willing to sacrifice everything for and pray for any natural instance. Everyone must remember that S/he has or has given nothing extraordinary. Prophets are prophets because they could present themselves as ordinary human-beings. They never forget their own status. They apply what they are given by Him to be capable for teaching the right and can sacrifice everything of personal benefits for establishing the right.

All human beings do not have same capability. They may acquire and preserve assets as they can. But they must use it for the wellbeing. They should not abuse it to dominate others. All should be given similar opportunity. All should remember that they are given the capability, power and responsibility of, by HIM who is the only owner of everything, utilizing resources; therefore people if want to please HIM, should give others opportunity to realize their potentials. There is no limit or barrier of kindness. Those who have the capability should spend for others based on the potentials. For achieving His satisfaction, try the best to sacrifice and help others. Keeping natural resources unused incurs opportunity costs on others. The gap between the rich and the poor must be reduced offering equal opportunity.

There is scope to rethink the essence of spending money for Haj, watching and keeping the babies of the same country hungry in uncertainties. There is scope to rethink with the debate whether bank interest is permissible or not wherein women who are exchanging for money can be free from such profession getting loans. The bank interest should not be viewed as that the opportunity seekers, who compel the poor when they are in need to agree to borrow at an unbearable interest rate with the intention to snatch the mortgaged property upon the default, do. Earning interest on goods and earning interest on money is not same. Earning interest on lending money is not a sin if the interest rate is affordable and adjusted with the purchasing power of money. Interest is needed to compensate or payback the lender same purchasing power.

When human-beings are asking for HIS forgiveness and kindness, they must first try their best to acknowledge, contribute and compensate if they gain benefit from anyone, and/or if their actions, thinking or speech adversely affect anyone innocent. Innocent in the sense that s/he didn’t commit any harm to the person asking for HIS forgiveness.

Except the Creator, no one can read others’ minds. No one should dare to act like the Creator and to determine the fate of others and to influence the opportunity without asking and knowing the minds of others. Those who have the knowledge and ability can advise others and can show others merits and demerits of many paths, but should not compel or influence to be compelled to choose any particular path. If someone imposes decisions on others or influence from the back without asking or knowing the minds, the dominator must take the responsibility and must compensate if the dominated is adversely affected. HE can do anything but HE follows HIS rules. Some of HIS creatures dare to break and influence rules. It is a great sin when the fate of others involve.

Everyone has the right to accept, reject, criticize but everyone must believe that there is only one Creator who can read minds, HE is the most powerful and HE is the best judge. Even if someone burns a religious constitution, there is the Creator for the punishment; but if anyone steals or burns someone’s book or property, worldly justice must be applied and the criminal’s prayers for HIS forgiveness will reach, if the criminal first be willing to sacrifice everything for and compensate to the victim.

All religions were perfect but the human beings fail to exert the knowledge of keeping themselves free from exploiting others. All religions will become false if the believers believe that people belong to other religions go to hell. Everyone is given the ability to think and chose the best path. Human beings can explain and criticize each path with the belief that nothing and no mind is concealable to HIM who is the best judge. …………



(Rasal Hasan Lia)

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Many Religions: Common ways to common destination - a perception.


Monday October 30 2006 14:39:18 PM BDT


Rasal Lia , Bangladesh


Religious culture and practices i.e. style of reminding and remembering the creator may vary from person to person, religion to religion, but all are supposed to face a uniform justice as all are created by only one Creator. He is common to all.

No believer should believe that people belongs to separate religions, will face different justice or will go to hell. Wrong and right, honesty and dishonesty, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral are universal. One¡¦s decisions, speeches, activities and thinking may generate impact on him/her and on others. If any of these is injurious to own, S/he will suffer or face the justice at resurrection; praying to the creator, apology, and self rectification may help someone free from curse.

If any of these is injurious explicitly or implicitly to others, besides the justice at resurrection, justice by the society must be applied; prayers to the Creator and apology and self rectifications are not sufficient for getting rid of. S/he must try to compensate and satisfy the sufferers. As long as victims do not forgive, the Creator will not; if He will, the victims may induce to revert. Haven is not restricted for any particular religion.

Haven and hell are common for all people regardless of the religions. Fortune will be determined by the same Creator based on the activities, and impact of activities on others, our faithfulness and breach of faithfulness, our willingness and efforts to bring parity in respect of opportunity distributions in the society. Laws created by human beings may contain contradictions. Some illegal activities as per prevailing laws may be treated as moral. We should follow the morality with the caution that it does not hamper others interest. If there is any lacking rejustice will take place at resurrection.

Namaz, Jakat, Haj, Roza, Puja, etc. do not have an end in themselves; their teaching should be grasped and applied in practice. These must induce sacrifice, kindness, humanism, bestows, honesty, truthfulness, disinclination in exploiting others and gaining undue benefits.

If someone wishes, someone can feel His existence as the nature often response to someone¡¦s wish. Sacrifice, holly mind, holly intentions, self-commitment, faithfulness, simplicity, altruism, meditations can help some one to feel His existence. The teaching of Namaz(mandatory five times prayers of Muslims) is an effective way to keep oneself free from curse and be holly enough, if and only if someone stands before Him with the belief that everything is visible to Him and fear Him for own activities during the interval of five time prayers truly and try to keep oneself on the truck. Do not disturb others to win the race; try to be fast to win the race. Not only the prayers, the teaching of prayers to be understood and followed.

The teaching is nothing but to be and to compel others to be free from deceitful act, breach of commitment, breach of faith, interfere others, exploiting others, stealing, misuse of power and properties on the weak; and the teaching is to sacrifice worldly immoral interest for boundless heavenly peace. All the religious culture and practices are designed to keep the human beings free from sin. It does not mean that religious culture and practices are mandatory to be free from sin.

As there is resurrection, no one should dare to think oneself as judge like the Creator when the issue is dedication to religious cultures. Human beings can and should perform the justice only if the issue is impact of their activities on others. Everyone must have equal access to worldly justice.

Those who are theist must have the obligation to enforce their capabilities for establishing justice regardless of religions. People can stand and fight for self right, and people have the obligation to sacrifice and fight for humanity, helpless victims and against the misrules, but people should not dare to act as the creator if someone does not follow religions- fortune at resurrection will be determined by the creator.

The haven is not restricted for any particular religion. There is only one creator. All the religions are formed by Him, and moderated by Him through prophets when needed. All the human beings are subject to His justice. Different religions may suggest different ways of praying and practices of religious culture, all have common objectives i.e. to shape a regulated living style not to commit harm to others, not to tell lie for gaining undue benefits, not to exploit the helpless people, not to steal/snatch others property or assets, not to act as the Creator, not to make barriers on the way of others.

Religious practices are some checking mechanisms that help people to remember that He sees everything what they do and think. If there is any thing unethical in our activities or thinking, people must face the justice. If any one commit harm to others for gaining worldly self interest, must compensate to others before his passing away. Only apology or prayers to Him is not sufficient for the forgiveness. Apology or prayers to Him may be sufficient if someone mistakes in following his own religious cultures or practices.

There are many religions and there are atheists, but all have the same and single Creator. Style of prayers or remembering the Creator may vary but style of justice is obviously same.

Our thinking, our relationship with others, our attitudes with others, our degree of committing harm to others are subject to a uniform justice. This uniformity is the basis of forming administration and court on earth by human beings. As everything is not visible to the judges on earth, as the judges on earth can not read the mind, as the devil is staying with human beings, as all do not access to the worldly justice, the invisible Creator will re-judge our activities. But there should not be any intentional lacking from any one of human beings in establishing justice.

The contribution of religious practices is confined to the fact that such practices help the human beings keep on truck. The religious practices or prayers can not be the way to reach haven. These are the ways to restrain them abusing power and resources and committing harm to others. As long as the victim will not forgive the Creator will not forgive. Not only the apology, compensation if possible may be a way to get rid of.

The Creator created all. When we think and do the right, we represent angels; when we are greedy, harmful for humanity and inclined for worldly benefit forgetting Him and when we are biased in justice, we represent the devil.

Our minds know what we actually do. Practices of religious culture must be followed in such a way so that it makes our mind authentic. If our mind is authentic of course we can overcome the devil. Practices of religious culture should not be only a basis of identifying the religions to which we belong to.

Regardless of the religion we are created by a single creator. Whatever the religions, the teaching of religions must be reflected in life. We do not have the same capability. Our intellectuality, our knowledge, our resources should be used for the welfare of the mass people. There must not be any discrimination based on religious identity. Justice should be common. He is almighty and common to all.

I am male and I am appalled by the number of women who embrace the complimentarian lie. I feel sorry for you that you have lost your faith. I dont believe God is a sexist, however, I think its sad that men have dominated religion to the point that many women who have a brain of their own leave the Church. Truthfully Churchianity doesnt condone much free thinking.

I do believe in God and have not lost my faith, but I tend to stay away from Churches who would hold my wife back from her God given abilities just because of the lack of a penis.

A Common acuity of human beings that own religion is perfect and other religions are false is one of the most blameworthy reasons of conflicts, unrest, war and killing worldwide. Worldly justice i.e. justice by human beings should focus on the unrest resulting from the revenge or avenge as a consequent of deprivation and discriminations. Worldly justice should focus on the impact of greedy and unethical activities of dominating persons and on reining their corruptions.

As long as someone’s activities are not harmful for others and for humanity, someone’s degree of loyalty to the Creator should be a subject matter of the Creator only. The tendency of offering extra benefits among the followers of own religion or ideology may be treated as a partial judgment. Everyone has the sense that there is a Creator to whom every one must be accountable for all of his/her activities and thinking. Punishment, reward and opportunities should be awarded based on impact or potential impact of someone’s ability and activities on others.

The Creator sends guidelines directly as well as the Creator gives human beings sense to form constitutions. Everything is for the welfare of human beings. However the Creator created devil; and the sense of human beings may be influenced with partiality in forming constitutions or rules and regulations. This is why business policies and political norms often fail to represent the welfare of mass people worldwide. Whatever it is, technology or constitution, we can not disregard the importance of earlier versions though it may change or improve responding to the needs of time. As the belief of the existence of only one creator is perfect, it is wise to campaign the ideology of own religion not to undermine other religions.

Human beings are rationale and they will obviously accept which one is perfect. Choice of religion should not be any criterion when it is the question of applying justice, distributing opportunities and resources. Each one must be accountable for his belief or religion to a single Creator. It is the only one Creator who enriches His best creations with sense, ability to think and perceive. Each and every one must face, both on earth and at resurrection the same justice of the same Creator.

People should restrain themselves from the belief that followers of separate religions are in vague, they are going to hell and they should be treated differently on earth when people are offering efforts for humanity. They can criticize other religions, they can raise questions and present arguments but they can not opine that other religions or beliefs are false. When a person sets belief on a particular religion, ideology of that religion becomes his/her own belief.

Self belief may make someone confident, but it may, if lacking argument make no other confident. It is the single Creator Who creates everyone with some ability. Religions, geographic locations, skins should not be any barriers on the ways someone lives and contributes on earth. Such identities should not be treated as building blocks of worldly justice where there are many people along with innocent children are being killed by war, want of food. It is really difficult to perceive, in the society where women engage in prostitutions for money, the logic of engaging in the debate with religious culture and practices.

It is more important to work for the development of human resources than engaging in the debate with, which religion is perfect and which religion is imperfect, which party joined with what religion. Political parties may be formed based on religious ideology and may be honored and accepted based on their contributions to the development of the conditions of people wherein earning a piece of bread is the question- religious knowledge and practices? Islam provides valuable guidelines in all the aspects of life. Some issues should be prioritized.

The questions of dresses, watching movies, singing, taking snap, tooth paste or Meswak etc. are waning compared to the questions of developing the economic condition of the people and bringing equality in justice, opportunity distributions and reducing corruptions. In our context, it would be easier to identify many corrupted persons by checking only the list of the buyers of real estate firms. The country may have something to learn from the fact that the contribution of a very small portion of our regulated and hard working citizen to the development of socio-economic conditions in some regions worldwide is well reputed.

The Creator knows what the Creator loves more and expects from us - inviting others to follow and attend own religious prayers or efforts to develop a peaceful environment that, to a greater extent depends on improving socio-economic conditions of the people and establishing justice. The Creator loves and expects that each and everyone follow and attend religious prayers that induce everyone be honest, benevolent, sacrificial, helpful and free from committing harm to others.

Telling a lie may have good intentions.

Telling lie is a great sin but if the impact is not injurious to others, it may not be a sin. Nothing should be imposed on anyone to obey, it is the rationality of people to think and accept what seems to be rational. There may have some holy intentions behind telling a lie. This is nothing but a contradiction between personal thinking regarding corollary of some instances and speeches of some religious leaders who frequently opine that telling lie whatever the intention or situation is a sin and prohibited in respective religions. People may tell lies for getting unethical benefits. People may tell lie to irritate others or to avoid irritations. People may require telling lies to find or investigate a fact. People may tell lies for joking or fun, or even for pacifying others or avoiding hazardous event. If someone tells a lie for getting dirty benefit, obviously it is a great sin. If the impact of telling lies is not injurious for the interest of mass people or anyone excluding a criminal, reasonably it may not be a sin. Bless once came to a mother of Arab who was trying to pacify her crying babies by boiling simple water but saying that she was boiling food. Such a role may or may not (the Creator knows) be treated as a sin though the mother was telling lie and deceiving her children – hungry children. The concerned persons know actually what they are doing and may raise questions how it would be treated by the Creator. Human beings have limitations but the Creator knows answers to all questions. All the religious practices have a common goal i.e. to be beloved of the Creator. The most valuable thing of everyone is his/her own life or the life of his/her dearest one. The teaching of the day of sacrifice in Islam clearly explains that all the people must be prepared for sacrificing their most valuable thing in the name of the Creator. If the people could realize what actually the instance implies, people could restrain themselves from exploiting others. People must be grateful and must bear a mind to reward when they get benefits from others. As the sprits of all people are immortal and will certainly face the resurrection and justice of the Creator, people should avoid the tendency of telling lies for stealing others property and knowledge, avoiding responsibilities of committing faults, blaming others, undermining others, breaching commitment. For the welfare of mass people, savings, investment, wealth maximization and centralization of resources are required. People should be prepared, though they do not need to sacrifice everything, to work for the people and to minimize discriminations. Not only the capitalist should, people from all classes should develop the morale to sacrifice, sacrifice the opportunity to swindle others for unethical self benefit. People’s tendency to deprive others and win the race by virtue of deceptive tricks instead of positive efforts that implies an exodus from the belief that the Creator reads minds and awards fortune for limitless life of the sprits is forcing the world towards destruction. For the peace of limitless life, all activities and thinking of human beings should focus a common vision i.e. to be beloved of the Creator. Minds should be authenticated by realizing the teaching of respective religious practices and by extending efforts to develop conditions of all people. Capable persons should gather and use resources effectively so that their resources and the benefits that go to others can be multiplied in a fashion that reduces discriminations. Working for humanity is obviously recognized as well as rewarded on earth, and the Creator knows how the Creator values such efforts that help people improve conditions where earning food is certainly the question; - ethics, religion? It should be perceived, if the tale is true, why the Arabian mother were telling lie………..


Agree or disagree?

Among 10 atheists and among 10 pious, there are more humanitarians in atheists

Agree or disagree?

Atheists have also a god of strong belief. Otherwise they won't welcome the treat of becoming socially deprived in the society of theist

Agree or disagree?

Both the heaven and hell are created by a single god. Implies that the God had an intention to send some of His best creatures to heaven and Some to hell.
Therefore those are going to hell are also helping the god to meet His objectives.

There are far too many errors in logic and poorly thought-out assumptions in this article and the following posts to even begin adequately addressing them all. But that is okay, because my primary objection is very simple. People criticize systems because they insist that "they don't work" or "they oppress women" etc. but they completely ignore the true cause of our problems. Sinful, or even ignorant, men and women will make a mess of ANY system, whether it be political or religious. The problem is with SINFUL PEOPLE and that is the real point of difference here. Reading this article and these posts, I can see a pretty clear position on the nature of man shining through the rhetoric: man is basically good and is his own God; if you wish to be religious you may go shopping for the God of your choice who will not adversly affect your view of the world and man/woman. I will admit that many people who embrace complimentarianism do harm to the concept out of ignorance, but it is my belief that men of women with rich character clearly demonstrate the beauty and truthfulness of the complimentarian position. Many, many people have enjoyed healthy, happy life-long marriages in such a system. It's the people who can't seem to get it right that always complain. The introduction of so many peripheral issues, most of which have their obvious root in a complete misunderstanding or outright rejection of Scriptural teaching on sin, redemption and other vital sujects, make it plain to me that many of the ideas/objections in this article and the following posts are basically rooted in ignorance and outright rebellion toward God (no offense intended). I realize it is probably useless for me to point this out, because I will easily be dismissed as a sexist and a hate-monger. I'm used to Ad hominem arguments ruling the day. But by my own testimony, I have nothing but the highest regard for women, nor do I believe that men are in any way "superior" to women. As a thirty year-old virgin seeking the woman of my dreams, I get really tired of being accused of being a sexist because I'm not the kind of guy who escorts his sex toys to the abortion clinic or willfully enjoys all the freedoms I have have today (thanks to the kind of thinking perpetrated above) to patronize and debase as many women as I possibly can for sinful and selfish purposes. And guess what? It's because I wholeheartedly embrace traditional orthodox Christian beliefs about men, women, sex and marriage. (I'm not a Scientologist in any way, shape or form). What I hear in so many of these objections, is a cry from a segment of the female population to victimize as many women as I can, which I simply will not do, regardless of whether or not most women on the planet lack the sense to know the difference between right and wrong. Most men lack that same sense. And that (sin) is the problem with everything: politics, religion, etc. It's not the institutions, it's the people, and that is why we all need Christ. On my bad days, I almost wish that "revolutionaries" would succeed, just so they could see for themselves that evil men and women ALWAYS jack EVERYTHING up, and fuzzy thinkers blame it on ideas (primarily religious ones) rather than the baffoons who are actually making the messes.

We are sent on earth for one time. Should we bother what will happen when HE call us back? or Should we try to try to realize the purpose of roles for which HE sent us on earth?

Luxurios cars are moving, the babibies feel no disturbance sleeping on the island or beside the street.

Who is successful?

They say Allah is every where. But whay do they pray facing MOCCA?
I believe Allah is every where in all of our thinking and activities.

They say Salat(prayer) is mandatory for (IMAN).They say SAlat is the key to haven.

I believe an honest who can feel the existence of Allah in the activities will get the door open.

The comment about Scientology being the result of a bet made me wonder, so I looked up "history of Scientology". Among a number of other interesting results was Wikipedia's page, which includes this:

"Silent birth and infant care

Hubbard stated that the delivery room should be as silent as possible during birth. This stems from his belief that birth is a trauma that may induce engrams into the baby. Hubbard teaches that words in particular should be avoided because he stated that any words used during birth might be reassociated by an adult, later on in life, with their earlier traumatic birth experience. Hubbard also wrote that the mother should use "as little anaesthetic as possible". According to Hubbard, babies should not be bathed after birth, but should be wrapped up tightly and left alone for a day or so. Also, Hubbard wrote that breastfeeding should be avoided. As an alternative, Hubbard offered a potentially unsafe concoction, which he called the "Barley Formula".

Hubbard was not a medical doctor, nor a pediatrician, nor a trained nutritionist. He received no college training in neo-natal care, or infant care. His claims regarding the care of babies and infants are disputed by many doctors and other professionals. Patricia Devine, MD, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist who directs the Labor and Delivery Unit at Columbia University Medical Center, said, "There's absolutely no scientific evidence that taking [noise] away at the time of delivery will have any effect on outcome for the baby or mother."

Yeah. umhmmm. "leave [the baby] alone" for the first day???? ooookaay.... (not!!)

Thanks for an intriguing post and attendant comments!

I loved the article. I really don't like religion but I do like Jesus. He was very liberating to women! Check him out in the Gospel of Mark! Radical!

Holy CRAP with your 50-something comments on this one. Religion always brings out the beast in people - good or bad. I'm about to post a religion one, as well. Hang on.

With that said, maybe you should just ask Jesus himself what he thinks? I found this beaut recently: www.emailsfromjesus.com ;)

For me, religion is kind of a moot point. I don't believe in a particular higher power and I'm really just trying to come to terms with my feelings about other people who do. As a survivor of abuse at the hands of organized religion, my knee jerk reaction it to recoil from anyone who says they are Christian. I'm trying to get over it and additionally not automatically assume someone is less than intelligent for finding peace in their religious beliefs - however wrong or fucked up I think they are. It's hard though.

Oh wow.
The silent birth thing is of course ridiculous. I had a nurse tell me to stop screaming, when I gave birth in exactly 35 minutes without anethesia to a 9lb baby. If I could have slapped her, I would have...As for the rest of the week that followed, I was pretty silent because I was so damn tired.
I personally think that most of the world's religions have been manipulated by men to control their people. I wish we could know what really happened on earth some 2000 years ago. I used to be really religous, then nothing for many years, and I am now a technical-catholic like you. I am ok with raising my girls in this church, but in a more laid back, reflective way then I knew.

Uncensored for sure. What a way to end my Easter weekend MU. You raise pertient and powerful questions.. which all the fathers would charmingly put out as being within your power as a Catholic. Nice!

No clear comment to be had from me.. outside the inconsequential; people 'feeling sorry' for celebrities is really vacuous.

Uhm, unless the dynamic of this game can bring on the sort of broader thought involved in what you have written here.

Wow, Kristen. I think you touched a nerve here. You probably know you're uh . . . preaching to the choir with me, but this topic is HUGE for me.

I believe it is time for modern Americans to set aside archaic belief systems that no longer coincide with our ethical and spiritual needs. We can have faith, expanded consciousness and spirituality WITHOUT hateful, cruel, ancient stories that have no relevance to modern life. Check out this great site (and look at the women link in the sidebar) http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/index.htm

I could have gotten married in the Catholic church, but then my huz would have been in deep shit with them - and since I was divorced I had to do the whole annulment thing as well (even though neither I nor my ex were Catholic).

I was pregnant at the time and I still had leftover guilt. I'm not sure I would have done it now.

And my huz never asked me to do it - once - consider it yes, but I did it all on my own.

A big pregnant UNMARRIED (and divorced) woman taking communion on Easter 2 years ago. HILARIOUS.

I was way more attached to the particular priest who was very forward thinking and cool. He left, however, and we haven't returned since.

Not sure if I ever will.

Wow, great thoughts and comments. I wrote a little something about my own religious thoughts this weekend, but didn't go into much depth. Now I think I might.
I think faith is a powerful, beautiful thing. I wish I had more of it. I think it is criminal that organized religion taints faith with its non-sensical rules, its fanatacism, its divisiveness.
And I can't believe how many people buy into it.
Although, I do think it odd that you converted to Catholicism, based on your comments here. My mother in law and sister in law were both married in a Catholic church, and neither one converted. Maybe the rules are different in California than where you are?
Oh, one thing that will always piss me off about the Catholics: they won't let you take "crackers" unless you are Catholic. Hey, way to be tolerant and welcoming!!
Never thought about the Tom and Katie thing in terms of oppression of women, just in terms of the crazy oppressing the more crazy.

First, no condemnation to anyone who has shared their opinions on religion here. I hardly think everyone needs to prescribe to my way of thinking any more than I need to conform to theirs. To each her own. That said, I have to say that there is a danger with blanket statements based on an exposure to a limited sample.

Case in point, I am a member of a "mainstream" Prosestant denomination. We have women pastors. Our clergy marry. They have children. They are not required for confessional prayer - we have a direct line to the One that counts, thank you very much.
In addition, our church "elders" (think board of trustees) can be male or female. They are ordained and have as much authority on behalf of the church, if not more, than the clergy. There are only two things they can not do -- perform weddings and officiate at communion, they do, however, *serve* communion. I, in fact, am an ordained elder.

Sermons, Bible Studies and general discussion groups often focus on the powerful women in the Bible. There are many - some named, some not. Some overtly powerful (Debra the Judge) and some quieter in their roles (Miriam, sister of Moses). In fact, all three of our pastors repeatedly emphasized this weekend that it was the *women* that first discovered Jesus had risen. It was women the first saw him post-crucification and who had the responibility to preach the good news first.

Is the God of my church male? When we rely on pronouns, yes, He is. Does that matter to me? No. It does not belittle my existance as a woman to assign the pronoun "He" to my God. Nor do I give a hoot whether the authors of the Bible were male or female. Like Mama! Mama! wrote, dismissing an idea simply because someone with XY choromosomes thought it/wrote it/said it is sexist/what-have-you in and of itself.

I am a strong advocate for equality, but sometimes I think we get so caught up in the words of it - the things that are like bows and ribbons on a package - that we miss the point. We worry too much about not being put down that we don't return the favor.

Here's the thing - Do I think Scientology has it right? Hardly. I think it's fairly F'ed up and I'd run from it like the plague. BUT, if someone believes it and makes the educated, conscious, informed choice to follow-it (as opposed to being pulled in by cult-like fashion) than more power to her/him.

Freedom of choice is more than a single issue's rally cry.

Great, thought-provoking post, Kristen.

My thoughts and feelings on religion are too complex and numerous to be summed up in a comment, but suffice to say I think you have a lot of valid points (as borne out by your readers!)

But the Scientology thing - I have to continue to be wary and oppposed to this - as judgemental as it sounds. The sibling of a good friend of mine got involved with a Scientologist a few years back, and he tried not only to recruit her, but her family members as well. From what they recounted of their 'sessions' there, it was nothing short of attempted brainwashing and extortion. So I still say, 'Poor Katie.' Or should I say, 'Poor baby-on-the-way.'

Can always relay on your post to make me think and want to read more.

The debate about religion has been happening all over the place. We forget that religion (as opposed to God and spirituality) is a manmade structure, and has its place, uniting families and communities, but the church, (all denominations) needs to evolve. To be more inclusive, non judemental.

I belive in changing traditions, changing old patterns of behavior.
I chose not to marry. Chose not to change my name. I belive God sees me as I am, knows who I am and accepts me as I am.

Ya know I hate Tom for all his bullsh*t antics and self love but this certainly doesnt say much for Katie herself if she has agreed to go along with this crap. Perhaps they deserve each other??!!
:-)

ps. Im an atheist 100% but as my accountant says...if there is a god its a woman!

Oh Stella - I'm still laughing at "Never went up for crackers" LMFAO.

and I love the whole adopting a cool name together thing. How 23rd Century of you :)

SWEET JESUS!!

Is the rapture coming???

ok. raised methodist. we went to church once a year. on xmas eve.

i've only experienced 'camp' once in my life. it was VACATION BIBLE SCHOOL. YA FUCKING HOO!

I went to a private catholic school for 3 years b/c there were no good public schools in florida.

i went to mass once a month. and i don't know all the words to our father.

i mummbled a lot.

i really, didnt care.

i never went up for the crackers.

when finance and i went to the xmas service this past xmas...i was rolling my eyes into the back of my head with the 4 and 6 year olds sitting beside us.

i would rather have a root canal than sit through a sermon. on anything relating to the bible. UNLESS of course...its coming from the HISTORY CHANNEL, or the DISCOVERY channel, or the NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC channel. like when they just told me about the missing book of Judas. that was cool.

anyway.

I had always thought i would take my husbands name, because i NEVER REALLY THOUGHT ABOUT IT. again, i didn't really care. now if, i had a uber cool name that people could actually pronounce, i might have given it more consideration...until,

vern said to me one day 'you aught to think about that....'. and i did.

and finance and i are probably going to be having a wedding ceremony unlike one anyone has ever been to, written by ourselves....performed by (we're not sure about that part yet!) and when we are in India...or somewhere on our travels, we will 'pick up' a last name for our 'new' life together. as a family.

together.

why do we need a god or a bible or a church service to live our lives as good humanitarians? Kindness and compassion comes from within. You don't need a religious creed, or organization to facilitate that.

i just dont get it.

to me. its all about good intentions. im all about karma.

Not religion, but I am reading "Gotham" at the moment and, interestingly, in the 1600s when a Dutch woman married she had the option of keeping her maiden name (or using both), she could inherit her husband's estate after his death, and often continued to run his businesses and affairs after his death as well. Many women became successful in their own right. Only after SHE died would the assets be distributed amongst ALL of her children. It was only when the English took over that they systematically took away the rights of women and changed the inheritance rules to leave widows and daughters paupers after the husband's death. Good stuff, men and their laws!

Fantastic post! Another lapsed Catholic weighing in. For me, I grew distant from the church when I got divorced. I just rankled at the prospect that until I had my marriage officially annulled by our diocese for a few hundred bucks (and my full disclosure of a very personal story), I couldn't take communion and wasn't "right" in God's eyes.

I've since adopted the position shared by you and many other posters here: until I find a church that recognizes women as equals and doesn't seem like an exclusive business / social club, I'm staying home on Sunday morning. And even then I still might still stay home.

(Did anyone catch the piece on the religion developed by a focus group on NPR's This American Life yesterday? Great show!)

Joy ~

Excellent points. Seriously, Jesus is nothing compared all the other mass-marketed craziness we are subjected to...

And PS - can't wait to read the Sears post. I wouldn't worry - I'm pretty sure you'll have a large and very supportive contingent from the other parenting bloggers.

Leave it to a science FICTION writer who is a MAN to have that stupid "woman must be quiet" rule. If it is true, which I hope it's not, then that is even FURTHER proof that L Ron Hubbard is an IDIOT!

fricking kudos to you Kristen. And there's me nervous to post the "I Hate Dr. Sears" post I've been abrewing..

I think many of us are channelling one another this fine post-easter/passover Monday. My own post on the holidays started as something much more meditative about my own beliefs/sense of tradition (or lackthereof) and wondering why, though I have no problem with cultvating the Easter Bunny mythos, if my son came home asking about Jesus or even Moses, I would be flummoxed. I think you've touched on it in many ways.

Although what is more worrisome--oppressive ideology pushed exercised in the name of "God" or corporate mass-marketing in the name of "Profit?" (because we all know that Easter/Xmas/Valentines--the lot, all come mainly under the latter). And I eat all that shit UP. So (I ask myself) why the Jesus phobia?

(and I think you might be more principled, having just read your comment to Sunshine on that issue about no Easter Bunny--let me know if I have you wrong there).

great post...

I love the way your mind works, Kristen. Great post and, as always, an interesting perspective. AMEN!

The Christianity I am a part of has women pastors. The Bible has stories of great, powerful, and honorable women.
The verse discussing wives submitting to their husbands was a cultural illustration. You have to keep in mind the culture at the time each book was written. It was expounding on the metaphor of the church being the bride of Christ. I don't know any Christian women who actually believe they must submit. Or men for that matter.
Discounting the Bible as sexist because it was written by men seems..well...sexist to me. Like someone mentioned earlier...do we discount the Constitution because it was written by men? A lot of great things were acheived/written/done by men. To be a real woman, must I give more creedence to those things acheived/written/done by women? That is sexist as well.

When I married my husband, I debated whether or not to change my name. I ultimately decided to add his last name to mine. I don't feel oppressed by my religion. I feel I can still be a strong, independent women and love God, and attend church.

I will agree there are many reasons to question organized religion. But I believe that it is people who corrupt a religion. Look how Islam has been distorted. I read a statistic about the large number of Muslim women that are victims of domestic violence at the hands of their fathers or husband. But Islam actually condemns domestic violence. Is Islam to blame...or the follwers who have corrupted Islam? Does that make sense? I am very wacked out on decongestant right now....which is probably why I decided to comment on religion at all.

Oh and Scientology...not a religion. Tom. Scary wack job. Katie. Spineless and naive. Off to score me some more Sudafed.

You know, isn't the first week of life when a Mother BONDS with their child? A Mother's soothing voice to calm a child's cry? I can SO see all those Scientology creating men wanting to get in on all the action. "Yeah, let's make it so the chicks can't talk to the babies and only we can, so in essence we will be the one's that are soothing and they will listen to us, and we will be ALL POWERFUL!" What a bunch of COCKS!

Ditto Izzy. Religion is a topic I avoid. Although I've done quite a bit of reading, I am somewhat ignorant of various religious tenets, extremely ignorant of Biblical quotes and symbolism (let alone other religious texts), and am frankly baffled by a lot of what other people believe.

Religion frustrates me; science (and NOT of the Scientology or Christian Science or any other irrational variety) comforts me.

The problem (or should I say ISSUE) with religion (based on Scribe's great comment) is that it's so pervasive in our society. Much of what we believe as a society can be traced back to religion...

Carry on.

Yeah. I don't think Katie is exempt in all this. She has choices - however, sometimes we feel like we don't. Like, maybe she feels that since she got preggo, she should convert for the sake of her kid - who knows.

However, Cyndi - I appreciated that comment - Katie has been SILENT - and I think it's very interesting WHY... I mean, it's not like TOM hasn't shut his trap.

I was baptized Lutheran because the Catholic church had previously refused to baptize my sister because my mom had her out of wedlock and the dad ran away. How fair is that? That was the beginning to my loathing of the Catholic church. Then came the services I went to a few times with my friend. Why exactly does one have to sit there and listen to latin, when most of us have no fucking clue what they are saying? That was number two. Then came the molesting priests, and the fact that the Catholic church wanted to basically sweep it under the rug and take care of it themselves. I'm sorry, but isn't that kind of like saying "I know he molested those children, but he is a man of God, so it's okay." That was three strikes. They were out. I never was "in" but you know what I mean.

When my mom met my stepdad, we started going to a baptist church, which was fine, but boring for a kid- and to be honest, kind of boring as an adult, too. I believe in God, but I don't feel like I have to show up in church every Sunday so some guy can talk to God for me, when I can just pray myself! That's another thing I always thought was stupid about the Catholic church. Why again, do I have to go into a tiny box and tell some guy who I don't even know(who has sins of his own to wrestle with, God only knows what) what I've been doing wrong lately? Sorry, but I'd like to keep that between me and God, thankyouverymuch.

Anyway, back to my point, if I can remember what it was--I do think that these Scientologists have to be pretty wacky to believe some of the things I read that the religion is about. What about that supposed pacifier for Katie? What the fuck? I'm mad for her, but I don't feel bad anymore. If she wants to be stupid and let asshole Tom boss her around, then let him boss her around. I have NEVER liked him, even before the Brooke Shields post partum meds thing- but now I just don't give a rats ass what that asshole does anymore. I think he brainwashed her, but oh well. I don't know either of them, so I guess we'll never know for sure.

Back to other religions and female opression- I do believe, like I said, in the bible, but there are DEFINITELY things I've wanted to ask a pastor. Like- explain to me how I can "spare the rod and spoil the child" without DYFS coming to get my kid, and without my child hating me and being afraid? And why is it that the wife has to serve her husband? Why can't he serve me sometimes too? One day I'm gonna corner a man of the cloth and demand answers.

Well.....on that note......

How I feel about this whole thing is two fold.
Fold 1) I don't think Scientology is to blame for whateverthefuck is going on with Tom and Katie. I got to reading this weekend and there are some very nice, normal, intelligent people and celebrities who are Scientologists. I think Tom's brain broke sometime in the past few years and he's just batshit crazy, regardless of L. Ron Hubbard.

Fold 2) I don't know, but I keep wondering "Why the fuck isn't Katie SAYING anything to the public?" for all of Tom's pandering to the media, she's weirdly silent. Which says to me she's an incredibly weak woman or he's drugging her. But anyways...it takes a strong women to stand up to some of these old, ingrained social pratices we have.......maybe Katie isn't one of them. *shrug*

Very thought-provoking post and comments.

I couldn't agree more with your position. I have faith but cannot be part of any organized religon because of the inherant oppressive nature directed towards women.

Religion isn't the only place where systemic opression exists in our culture but it is one of the more problematic places.

I don't know enough about Scientology to judge it but what I do know makes me want to run the other way. So does any news media report of Tom/Katie in general.

Thanks for raising this provocative issue.

Great post. I was born Catholic and kinda raised as such (went to church, but had minimal catechism etc.) and still attend church fairly regularly. But I have BIG PROBLEMS with a lot of the church's teachings on women, family, etc. I enjoy the community aspect of the Mass and find the ritual of it comforting. But with my 4-year-old already asking questions like "Who is Jesus? Why did he have to die?" I think I'm going to need to take a position and live with it -- ASAP.

Years ago there was an editorial cartoon that showed a woman talking with a priest. He asked, "Why do you think women should be priests?" and she replied, "For one thing, then there'd be two of us." I loved it.

I say "Amen" to what you've discussed here. I've been through a very similar experience with religion and still don't get how they implode it with the male dominence crap that negates most of the doctrine they are trying to teach in the first place. For me I have to say the greatest teacher I ever had was a female Presbyterian Minister who was married to an ex catholic priest. The two of them seem to be able to cut through all that crap and get down to the message being given. I was raised a catholic and realized early on that the catholic church was more about the ceremony, not the message. Anyways, great post!

Religion?

Makes. Head. Hurt.

Sorry. Don't mean to be a smartass (well, maybe a little) but there's no way to sum up any of my thoughts on the topic without getting a serious headache.

Wow, this is an excellent discussion.

It's funny that you mention how people seem to blame Tom for the aspects of scientology that Katie is subjected to, with respect to the silent birth. I have always been a believer in "it takes two to tango" -- for example, when two people have an affair, I never blame one more than the other even if one person strayed from a spouse. Yet I have been quick to see Katie as the victim in all of this, to make Tom shoulder the blame for the situation. It's a shame, because that is not granting her the power and the responsibility she should have as an equal in the relationship. That's part of the reason that these religions, cultures, what have you perpetuate today -- because both sexes continue to let it happen.

I haven't thought so much about the sexism aspects of religion in choosing to be agnostic (in what I consider a "religious independent"). My thoughts lean toward believing that people have the responsibility to "do onto others" and act with common sense and grace when interacting with fellow human beings. For this reason, I find it hard to embrace any particular organized religion, because many seem to bring about a sense of exclusivity (intended or not) that goes against my grain. You know already how I feel about labels being used to prejudge people. It's too easy for misinformed people to use religion as a hammer to beat up other people.

I guess I digressed a little bit. But I love talking about this. ;-)

I have never really given religion much thought until I had my daughter. When it came time to talk about Baptism, I just assumed that's what we would do. I was Baptised so was my hubby. I never really prayed, never went to church except on holidays, yet I called myself a Catholic. Now, that I have a little girl I'm a little more inclined to believe in a higher power. At least I hope there is. I agree with you that religion gives people hope and meaning so for now that's all it is to me, a reason to believe there's something else beyond this life. I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

These comments are all very facinating. I grew up Catholic and quit. I told my mom I'd go back someday IF the church changed its views on women's roles, started dealing with the many, many priests that abused children, and started reaching out to the younger people. Alot of religions are sexist.

My mom and I were talking about how even in colonial times women were able to make their opinions heard at least by their hubbies --if the hubbies didn't listen, the wives would (according to one of my college history teachers) "cut them off" sexually.

We women can be a very resourceful lot -- especially when we think for ourselves and understand the kind of power we all have within ourselves -- not just a sexual power.

WOW what an enlightened, progressive, wonderful bunch of readers you got here Kristen! I have me some new blogs to check out in the morning.

Your comment about women buying a book hook line and sinker that was written by men (and that oppresses women) took me back to when I read that crazy "Babywise" book when my baby was 3 months old. I finished it during her naptime and wept for what felt like hours convinced I had already ruined her. Mind you, this was 8 years ago before I had any wits about me and in full flege post pardum. I called a girlfriend who fist told me to take a deep breath and then asked who wrote it. When I told her she said, "When it comes to motherhood, don't ever totally trust a book that wasn't written by a mother." DUH. I needed that!

I won't even start on what your post stirred up inside me. If I ever do that "5 things you didn't know about me" thing you guys are doing, number one on my list would be that I went to a super-christian university for two years...by CHOICE. eeeeek. Sometimes my past really freaks me out!

Though the hard core (Orthodox) of my religion are as anti-feminist, anti-woman as those of any religion, Jewish weddings don't have "vows". In my wedding, there was no promising anything other than that we'd love one another. Plus, our rabbi - talking to the assembled Jews, Christians (including Mormons active and lapsed) and non-believers - talked about God as the naming of awe. You do what you have to for love, but I can't imagine agreeing to something I opposed. Maybe Katie is crazy, maybe she's in love, maybe she's cynical (all publicity is good publicity, right?). Just so she doesn't name the kid L. Ron.

I am personally dealing with my own demons(?) regarding religion in my life these days. Thanks for opening up this dialogue.

Reform and some Conservative Jewish congregations have edited and rewritten liturgy to acknowledge and accommodate women. The role of women in Biblical history was a big part of Seders I attended this Passover, and it wasn't anything radical. The Temple I belong to has additions to certain songs and prayers and now includes many of the matriarchs of our religion. It took me a while to get used to it, but egalitarianism is thriving in both some conservative and all reform congregations. Women can do whatever men could always do. Equal rights. Doesn't mean the men get up after Passover dinner and do the dishes, but we're working on that too. ;-) And Mrs. Fortune is correct - Judaism embraces learning, questioning, debating. Interpretations of Jewish teaching are as widely varied as the outfits on Rosh Hashanah. (OK, just trying to lighten it up a bit here folks, I'm religion-ed out for now - although my own psuedo-religious-theorizing post is brewing as well).

Kristen, I hav ea post brewing about this, but I wanted to say a few things. First of all, I think Scientology is CRAZY. However, I do have to correct the "Silent Birth" misconception. I did a paper on Scientology in college and this is what I learned: While silence is recommended, it is not required. What is required is that those present for the birth do not speak. The mother can scream if she wants to and can if she needs to. She can also use pain medication in order to help ease the pain. However, those present for the birth cannot say anything becuase Scientologist believe that the only voice a newborn should hear is the mother's.

OK, with that said, I don't believe in Scientology. I don't believe in Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or any other religion that claims that it is the "right" one. I believe faith is a good thing, but I would rather have faith in humanity and self. I grew up Presbyterian. I was very loyal to the church. But I think that organized religions adovacate sheepdom and stifle individuality.

OK, I will stop here, because liek I said I have a post about this brewing.

I'm a feminist Catholic (and no, not a Feminist for Life, a pro-choice, pro-choosing your own partner Catholic) and member of Catholics for Choice.

I feel very strongly about the basic principles of my faith and try to steer clear of analyzing the political aspects that get the most media attention. When I say the Apostles Creed I mean the words. I hope to inspire change in my Church, but I'm not naive enough to think that I can envoke that much change - but I can be heard. I think it's a misnomer that average Catholics are not heard. Maybe it's because I speak so loudly at what I feel strongly, but my opinions are widely known. I am still always welcome in my Parish. In the end, religion is what you make it, organized or not.

I do have to say, we're seeing more and more change regarding sexism in Canada than in the US. Many of our oldest Churches have female ministers or women in powerful positions (United, Anglican, Presbyterian). I am hopeful to see similar changes in my own Church in my lifetime and don't think it's unreasonable to hope.

I also don't qualify Scientology as a "religion". It was covered in my very Catholic high school World Religions class. Religions covered were Judaism, Islam and Buddhism. All in an extremely tolerant and very interesting way. I still hold many Buddhist beliefs to this day because of that class. Scientology was studied under cults. Most interesting class I have ever taken and very enlightening.

I married a Catholic and technically I am one - but frankly, it's hard NOT to pick on them (particularly as of late). I think that there are "other" Christian-type religions, while having their own issues, that are still allowing women to stand on the pulpit and preach their version of the gospel.

Perhaps oppression is the wrong word - maybe it's more of an issue of sexism.

We can't change that all men wrote the constitution but we can change how we interpret it (not that we want to or are going to...) - but we can change the way we interpret the bible. And we as women can say, "I'm not going to go to this church because... [insert your reason here].

That doesn't mean you can't find a church that's right for you - a friend of mine found a great church where gay couples are accepted, women and men "preach" and spirituality and meaning in life is stressed more than the traditional religious values.

My thought process is - I'm criticizing Katie - have I chosen a proverbial "silent" birth/week myself in continuing to choose a faith that does not value my feminist beliefs? I just wonder.

Today my mom told me she would say a rosary for me.

"That's really re-assuring", I said.

I said no thanks to most of that a long time ago - Emily doesn't have much info - never baptised, I think the only time she's been to church is when her grandmothers take her.

I tell her that my job is to be the best person I can be. That doing good work is the best thing to do.

But still, the whole thing just reaches out and smacks you down at times.

Like Mom101 stated, it's tough to call Scientology a religion. It was a big bet between two writers as to who could invent a religion that people would join.

As for me, my father's family are fierce Irish Catholics, but I was raised by my mom, who raised me with no set religion. Whenever I ask her about it, she says she believes in God, but that you don't need to go to a church to prove you believe.

Having grown up with that freedom to find my own beliefs, I struggled for some time to find a place I belonged. I joined the Presbyterian church, and later left it. I considered paganism, but decided against it.

I still haven't put together everything I believe, but I think I lean towards Unitarianism. Founded by Humanists, they believe that there is some truth to be found in all religions. As best I can tell, it's a "believe what you want to believe" kind of religion, and the sexes are equal.

I've been thinking of checking out the local Unitarian church. I've read their online sermons, and they use bits of Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Wiccan, Hindu, Buddhist, and other beliefs. Amazing.

To sum up - I found your post inspiring, and it made me think about exactly what I do believe. I do think most organized religion is sexist and past due for reform, and therefore is not for me. I believe in a higher power, and that's the start for me.

P.S. I know Scientologists and they are THEIR OWN BEASTS. They are also becoming the new "jews of hollywood." Remember that trainwreck, CRASH? Scientologists.

I commend Katie for being fun to make fun of. Tom too. I subsribe to the religion of shit-talking and jokes. Dudes. Chicks. Evs.

I agree that comparing scientology with organized religion is stretching it, because, um, what Mom 101 said. I may believe many things, but I do not believe that people were brought to planet earth on DC-10s. I'm sorry if that insults any Scientologists out there, but I'm not buying it.

However, I think that the historical oppression of women is a huge problem and it's unfair to pick on Catholics because there are no women priests (and yes, there are other issues, but I'll keep it simple). The US has never had a female president and that doesn't mean that I am going to renounce my citizenhip because it's a patriachy. By the way, we have no proof that the Bible was written entirely by men. But the US Constitution was - that alone doesn't make it oppressive against women.

Anyways, not all Christians believe in a literal interpretation of the Bible.

And maybe I have been fortunate, but some of the most liberal people I've met are priests. And I live in Massachusetts, probably the most liberal place in all the land. There are Catholic scholars and priests that promote the discussion of "controversial" issues (eg. the jesuits) even if changes in the church may never come. Yes there are ultraconservatives as well, but there will always be a spectrum of opinion. God (or nature, or whoever you believe in) gave us brains for precisely that reason.

I'm sorry for the ramble, but I feel strongly about this. I almost renounced religion a few years back, but when you look at the basic tenets of most religions the sexism was introduced by men, not God. I decided not to some dead mysogynists take my beliefs away.

You must read "The Goddess in the Gospels, Reclaiming the Sacred Feminine" Really illumintating. Read anything by Starbird, and you will find that we were not always a race governed by patriarchal dogma.

That said, Scientology, in my mind is not a religion in any sense of the word, though technically, it does fit the widely accepted definition of religion which are as follows:

- supernatural forces, power(s), beings, or goals;
- man's ultimate concerns;
- sacred objects (things set apart and forbidden) of spiritual devotion;
- an agency that controls man's destiny;
- the ground of being;
- a source of transcendent knowledge or wisdom;
- the collective character of religious life.

But Scientology fits those guidelines or not, I have a real hard time taking it seriously due to the completely ludicrous assertions regarding extra terrestrials and it's stance on physical and developments disabilities. I can't understand why intelligent people buy into this claptrap. I really can't.

Katie is just as much to blame as Tom. You can bet if someone told me I had to stay quiet during childbirth and not speak to my newborn baby I'd tell them to go straight to hell.

That, I suppose, is why I have no codified spiritual convictions.

Interesting topic.

Wow. A lot of food for thought here. I must admit that I am one of those women who was raised Catholic, went to 12 years of Catholic school, married Catholic, and baptized my son Catholic. But when it comes down to it, even though I'm Catholic, I don't blindly follow Catholic teachings as if they're gospel (excuse the pun) or believe they are correct just because the Pope endorses them. For example, I believe that women should be able to be priests and I believe in birth control.

In some ways, I think I'm Catholic because I happened to be born into the Catholic faith, and honestly, I'm just too damn lazy to look around and check out other religions to see if there's one I like better.

So, although it is a very patriarchial religion, I'm sticking with it for now and I do hold out hope that within the lifetime of my great-great-great-great-great-great...granchildren, maybe, perhaps, just maybe the Church will decide that women should become priests. And women within the Church can keep that dialogue going. After all, what the Church is and what it will become is up to the people who make it up.

I love these comments. I agree that Scientology is on the cult continuum for sure and its comparison to Christianity is a bit reckless on my part.

However, religion itself has gone so far away from what I believe was its original purpose that it has, in a way, become somewhat cultish. I use that term loosely.

If you shed all the layers of what religion has become, I agree with you, Stefanie, in that the message of JC himself (although presented to us through the Bible (which is still questionable in terms of its authors...)was not one to specifically oppress women.

I think the idea of GOD as a mother/father figure is interesting - however I think the maleness of religion is pretty ingrained in most peoples' heads.

Ah, intelligent banter - better than a cadbury egg :)

Provocative and well-reasoned post as always. I agree with you that there are serious issues with pretty much any organized religion. I have no issues with faith--faith is good. But religion too often twists faith into arbitrary laws and traditions, most of which are designed to help the powers-that-be maintain that power that is.

But my issue with scientology goes way beyond any sort of oppression issues. For one, it's a CULT/MULTINATIONAL disguised as religion for tax purposes, and it was founded by a SCIENCE FICTION AUTHOR. On a BET. And its main tenet is that a wicked extraterrestrial tyrant (I swear) is enslaving humans with his psychic abilities and if you pay enough money, you too can be initiated into the (er) religion and repel Xenu's (that's his name) attacks. And then you can achieve peace and happiness through past life regression, but to what extent is directly correlated to how much money you give the organization. Oh, and Hubbard alone has godlike powers to repel the extraterrestrial attacks.

So yeah, I think Katie's a little nuts. Or maybe she's in love. Or maybe it's a career break. There's more to this story than any of us know.

Hmm. My religion was *founded* by a woman. It's Christian and we call God "Father-Mother," because Biblically, there's at least as good a reason for calling God "Mom" as "Dad." So there's that.

I think religion can be and is used to oppress women, sure. But economics, class, race and a host of other things are patricarchal, too, and are used to oppress women all the time, and I think women have been smart enough to find their way around those obstacles in many cases. Why not religion, too?

And I personally think that anyone that thought Jesus wasn't a feminist really needs to re-read the Gospels. The church may be messed up, but Jesus was a pretty cool dude, IMHO.

Ah. VERY loaded issue for me, one that I've planning to post on for some time now. I'm entirely with you on your position v.v. the Church and organized religion more generally. I was raised Catholic, and I'm on record (on blog) as stating that that messed me up a bit. And, one of my areas of specialization is early to late modern critique of Christianity (and how treatment of women figures therein). I likes me my Machiavelli and my Nietzsche (but for the seeming misogyny) people - that pretty much automatically makes me a BAD Catholic.

But, but... I'm actually grateful, for the most part, that I was raised in a religious environment (although I did have the good fortune to have very open-minded parents and an unusually free-minded, lefty priest). I'm grateful for the religious education, in part because knowing the Bible inside and out, knowing Latin, etc, etc, have been a tremendous advantage in my academic career. I don't know that I would be as good a student of the history of philosophy if I didn't have the intimate understanding of religion and its history that I do.

And - to back off of the high-falutin' academonic crap - I'm grateful that I was given the opportunity to really experience faith. I *believed* in God, very seriously believed. And I still do believe in some sort of higher power, even having backed off of organized religion. And I want to give my daughter the opportunity to experience faith, to know belief. But, I want her to have that in some sort of critical space, and I don't know how one does that with a child.

And, and - I don't want to be a hypocrite (this is my husband's big issue with this). Walking into Mass would be a big fat act of hypocrisy on my part; so how do I teach my daughter that it's okay, and can even be good, to be observantly religious, even while being critical of it? Because although I want her to be able to be critical of organized religion, I want that to be a real choice for her. I don't want to raise her to automatically, reflexively think that observance of faith is wrong or, worse, silly. Quite the opposite.

I could go on, but I should probably just get on with that post instead. Thanks, as always, for provoking my thoughts...

(And? Thanks so much for the lovely, lovely comment on my last post. It meant a lot. And, ditto on the last part of that comment.)

"We criticize her choice" ... hmm, that's an interesting thought, I just realized that I was really blaming him for the whole thing, and how messed up is that? I mean, it IS her choice, but I was viewing her as the naive 13 year old under the spell of the big bad man, which says a lot about my views on female power, no? She is a grown woman.

As far as women in organized religion, this has been a thorn in my side for a long time. That's another thing I like about Judaism - rabbis and other scholars welcome the open discussion of such issues, even if they're not necessarily going to change the status quo, they at least genuinely want to listen.

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