Tuesday, September 28, 2010

What do you know about God?

An interesting article about stats and who knows what etc. about God and religion.  The numbers are an interesting insight into the whole complex matter of ideas and realities regarding religion.

Atheists, agnostics most knowledgeable about religion, survey says

A majority of Protestants, for instance, couldn't identify Martin Luther as the driving force behind the Protestant Reformation, according to the survey, released Tuesday by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life. Four in 10 Catholics misunderstood the meaning of their church's central ritual, incorrectly saying that the bread and wine used in Holy Communion are intended to merely symbolize the body and blood of Christ, not actually become them.

Atheists and agnostics — those who believe there is no God or who aren't sure — were more likely to answer the survey's questions correctly. Jews and Mormons ranked just below them in the survey's measurement of religious knowledge — so close as to be statistically tied.

So why would an atheist know more about religion than a Christian?

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Beloved and Respected Teachers"

A lot a talk about improving education these days.  Here is something from the past regarding something perhaps missing in the modern education equation.

Boston English High school is listed as the oldest public high school in the United States founded in 1821.

Most notable among its alumni are J. P Morgan, financier, Louis Sullivan, architect, Leonard Nimoy, actor, Louis Farrakhan, Nation of Islam and two American Generals, William H.C.Whiting CSA, and Matthew Ridgway.

The school started out to give a practical no frills Yankee style education for those going beyond grade school in the early part of our republic. No frills meant that it taught English but no Latin as in a more traditional academic setting of the time.

I was not familiar with the history of the institution until I ran across some documents in a flea market. The penmanship alone of one bygone document overwhelmed me. I will shortly share some of the words attached to that bygone penmanship.

You can look back on your own education. You can look at the education your child is receiving. You see many discrepancies in how a newer generation is being taught and wonder what values taught to you have been discounted in the process of the progress of American civilization.

Your child's homework makes them busy. Assignments on the Internet and cardboard story boards that the parent should not but does invariably finish for the child seem the norm. But is the child being taught? What do teachers do these days besides measure your child in standardized tests and following the current flavor of the decade teaching modi operandi?

Let me step back and not take away from anyone's credentials or their attempt to educate in this bizarre new global existence.

I was taken aback by the Valedictory speech of a graduating student from "English High School" in July 1852. The words here say a lot about teachers and the gratitude that students should return to efforts made on their behalf. The following is an example of Yankee no frills education.


"The class of which I am a member, has now completed the usual academic course, in this Institution. We are about to separate and enter other spheres of duty. But before that separation takes place, one last office still remains to be performed. It is to take leave of our friends. It is to testify our gratitude to those who have helped us onward during our past lives and to encourage each other, in the onward path, which each of us may have chosen.

Beloved and respected teachers -To you, who have so faithfully attended to your arduous duties, we must first testify our gratitude.

You have endeavored to instill into our minds, those principles, and form in us, those habits, which would most securely stand against temptations and evils by which we may be assailed. You have instructed us on those things, which would qualify us for pursuing an honest and useful life. You have in all things, sought our good.

Nor, under Providence, shall your labor be in vain. If successful in our future lives, much of our success must be attributed to your aid. We are now to redesign your guidance and instruction. The happy hours we have here enjoyed, will never be repeated.

But though removed from your immediate influences, yet the lessons you have given, will still continue to teach us. We shall hear their echo, telling us what path of life and duty to choose. We shall feel their influence, continually urging us forward in all good deeds, and warning us to reflect, when temptations shall beset our paths. In more advanced periods, when we come to reflect upon our past lives, we shall refer to this portion, with pleasure. We shall recall the many pleasant hours we have here enjoyed, and the many valuable instructions we have received. Our teachers will be remembered with feelings of gratitude and respect.

We shall remember this devotedness to our happiness and welfare. We would say then, - go on in the work , the noble useful work, in which you are engaged.

Continue your endeavors to improve the young, and although your reward may not be immediate, yet it will be certain. And you, who are to continue your studies in this school, especially you, who are so soon to occupy our places in this room, we would exhort, to make the best use of your time, improve every opportunity and you will not regret it. Your advantages for obtaining a good education, are unusual.

Do not then, by neglecting them, bring regret and sorrow upon yourselves, in after years. Consider that, although one neglected advantage may seem but a small loss, yet it serves to swell, and may very seriously increase the aggregate of losses. Remember, that the cares of your teacher are very great. Do not, therefore, multiply them, by misconduct on your part, but rather alleviate them, by your attention to his instructions, and to your duty. And when, in future years, you come to look back upon your school days, may you be comforted by the reflection, that you have, in all things, endeavored to do your best.

Fellow Classmates, we now part with this school and with each other..."

Valedictory. Composed and spoken by C.F.Wyman, July 26, 1852, Boston, Mass.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Church vs. Facebook and Social Networks

There is a movie out about Facebook, “The Social Network”. If you know anything about Facebook you know it is a place where people hangout with “friends” on a computer and not necessarily in real life. Though photos of a party or two appear, this is the modern version of the town square for a lot of young people.

Don’t know is this electronic trend to know people on a tube will last. It seems to me that if you want to meet people, the best place still available is in a church setting and not just on a Sunday. Church is real. Facebook is a social blur. The pendulum may swing back and people may want to touch other people for real in person like the old fashioned way.

Church or churches if they still are open may be the place in the future for reality and a real true social network for many as they grow older and as they continue to be for many more to this day.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

More excuse – Less abuse ?

Pope expresses sorrow for abuse

The pope has done his mandatory apology for institutional and personal failure in the ongoing breakdown of abuse in the church.

Pope Benedict XVI expressed his "deep sorrow" Saturday for the child sexual abuse scandal that has rocked the Catholic Church, the first time he has publicly addressed the issue on his four-day trip to Britain.

"I think of the immense suffering caused by the abuse of children, especially within the church and by her ministers," Benedict said during Mass at Westminster Cathedral. "Above all, I express my deep sorrow to the innocent victims of these unspeakable crimes, along with my hope that the power of Christ's grace, his sacrifice of reconciliation, will bring deep healing and peace to their lives.

"I also acknowledge with you the shame and humiliation which all of us have suffered because of these sins; and I invite you to offer it to the Lord with trust that this chastisement will contribute to the healing of victims, the purification of the church, and the renewal of her age-old commitment to the education and care of young people.
The apology was made during his current trip to Scotland and England.

The circus continues.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Joe the Pope does England and Scotland

You don’t need a copy of the show business magazine Variety to know that Joe the Pope’s floating circus is about to arrive in Great Britain.

A trip that looked promising mining for women hating COE priest types has gotten down to the nitty gritty stuff of everyday life.

Remarks from Cardinal Kaspar comparing Britain to a third world country has seen him pardon himself out of the pope’s entourage.

Remarks about wearing crosses on British Airways and getting discriminated against coincides with talk of the so called aggressive Atheism breeding on British shores.

The pope should promise to get more info out about the Church’s abuse scandals.

There’s all sorts of goodies to give out and receive in the media in the next few days.

Pope's Visit

Saturday, September 11, 2010

911 Again – Flawed Perfection

Remembrance is a good thing. But all this again and again 911 remembrance is a bit too much.

It has become a secular/religious orgy of death and not life. Three thousand died tragically yes. But millions more survived.

I am putting a ten year cap on all this mourning for the dead. The memorial for the dead is apparently on schedule to be opened in time for that tenth anniversary.

The new WTC is a bit bizarre, expensive and out of this world in terms of design.

It has not lived up to America’s best standards. And with people fighting a mosque center two blocks from the center of American construction Greed and awkward design – it completely baffles me.

Did the Arabs really win on 911 – NO

Has America lost it’s Christian way – I have to say YES.

War on Terror???

War on Moral Values – where are they America?

Time to stop pretending to rule the world. Time to bring all troops home.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Koran and Burning the Book

There is a whole sense that banning or the burning of any book(s) is a bad thing.

Some yahoo in a shanty church in Florida is planning on burning the Koran on Saturday, anniversary date of the 911 attack on American soil by Saudi fundamentalists.

That no matter how you see it, burning the religious icon or religious content of a book cannot in any way destroy that religion.  Words are words.  Ideas trump words anyday.

History has shown us since the Reformation, no matter how many books you ban or burn, those books in one form or another survive the attack on them.

That the world is focused on one petty Christian fundamentalist preacher for his daring to burn another religion’s sacred scripture is an interesting thing. That insult across borders boils down to the intolerance of a few here there and everywhere and the ability to spoil things for the many.

Don’t know if preacher man will change his mind before Saturday but I fell certain that the solitary of politicians, generals, even the Vatican to not burn the Koran for any reason is solid ground for the concept of respect in a global sense being born right in front of our eyes.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Tea with God and Stephen Hawking

It is perhaps overflow from the British Press into the American MSM that makes this new Atheist movement among Brits with some science credentials seem like the Wittenburg bulletin board of our time.

Stephen Hawking says there's no creator God; the twitterverse reacts
But Thursday, the acclaimed physicist and mathematician shot to the top of the list--and not because of another hilarious wheelchair-bound appearance on The Simpsons. Hawking hit the news cycle because The Times of London excerpted his new book, The Grand Design, on Thursday. In the book, which releases this week from Bantam Press (and which, admittedly, I haven't read), Hawking concludes that a Creator is unnecessary for the universe to exist.

Is this news? Not really. Hawking has made it clear in the past that he's not religious, and his ex-wife, Jane, outed him as an atheist in her biography about their marriage. But Hawking has always been careful to delineate between religion and science, and his past writings seemed to have left open a window allowing for a God-like creator.
The Brits still dysfunctional sixty odd years after their Empire fell and still stuck with the Queen at Tea are off on a tangent about God and belief again.

Hawking, while toated for twenty odd years as an Einstein – ain’t.

Personal opinions, belief, science and a charged media should stand back and reflect. One momentary headline from a famous Brit personage changes nothing in the universe which is or is not created.

IT is.  (the Universe)

Amazing how the wonder of the U can be reduced to a pile of used wallpaper for the sake of publicity on one minor book.