Black or White or Both…

A lot of people here are getting very exercised on the subject of religion and whether I have any!! I think Diane’s dilemma expresses it best. She would clearly feel more comfortable if she could figure out whether I was a Christian, atheist, deist, pantheist or what!! THAT’S exactly the problem. Everyone wants Black or White. There is so much confusion in the human condition that we all want some clarity and definition- somewhere PLEASE!!! This unsettling confusion and need for identity has always led us humans toward some ( any ) kind of “tribalism.” The only way we can feel secure in our fragile mortality is to “belong” to something or someone. It might be a nation, a city, a sport’s club, a political party, a gang, a neighborhood, a social club or… a religion. It gives us clarity as to where we belong and the comfort that we will be surrounded by like-minded people. The problem is that that behavior robs us of the ability to identify fully with the only true club that we belong to: the human race. And that happens to be the only club that is non-exclusive. There are plenty of moslems, jews, christians, atheists, taoists, mormons who all believe in the same tenets of compassion, love, duty, and responsibility, but our need to identify and separate each other out keeps us from actually enacting these principles. The truth is that the human condition is, and will always be, confusing and confronting IF we surrender to that fact. And that’s how it was meant to be. The word “religion” comes from the Latin “re-ligo” meaning “I tie back.” It is how we tie ourselves back to the one-ness of the universe ( God, if you like.) However we choose to do this is up to each individual . Some have created “programs” to help the needy. These programs are called “Religions,” but they owe more to political power-grabbing and exploitation than anything any of the great teachers have ever spoken about. I hope this helps those who are confused. I guess the closest to a religion that I have come, was spoken by a character on a TV sci-fi series a few years back She said that we are made up of the same molecules that make up the universe, that create the energy inside the nuclei of the stars. She explained that we are literally “star stuff”, the universe made manifest- trying to figure itself out. So, be OK with the confusion and the murky differences between Black and White…that’s what makes us human and divine at the same time. Good night and sleep well.

To read the comments that all of you have left on this blog AND Charlie’s comments back to you, click on the link comments HERE OR at the bottom of this blog where it says, for example, 26 comments. Also, be aware that we moderate the comments, (we do not censor however) we don’t allow anonymous comments anymore (you can log in with many different accounts) and are on West Coast Time, so they will get approved as soon as we see them.

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59 thoughts on “Black or White or Both…

  1. @Karen i did not know that about New Years. Now That is interesting. @emerys somehow i missed your comment. not sure if you are still around this late? Kudos, your ideas may not be that far from the truth. I too am pessimistic. Love to see you around again. Course this is not MY blog. Woops!

  2. @Lily: I think part of the confusion lies in the Constitution (which is a secular document). The Founding Fathers did not intend for the United States to be a Christian nation; they deliberately avoided that discussion with the 1st Amendment. Actions of Congress since then (such as making Christmas a federal holiday) contradict the intent of the Founding Fathers, but the fact remains that just because Christmas is a federal holiday does not necessarily mean that the United States is a Christian nation. If that were the case, is the United States a pagan nation because New Years Day also is a federal holiday? (In case anyone is wondering, New Years Day was developed by the Romans to honor Janus, the god of gates, doors, and beginnings).

  3. Lily you are right again. It's funny how people say that we are not a Christian country but do celebrate Christmas. Amazing Christ is in Christmas. Oh well just spinning my wheels because everyone has their own point of view. Will have to do some more research about our country's history. Isn't that sad but too busy with my job and family to do much more. Take Care all. Where are you Charles???

  4. @Jeannie Loved your last comment about charity and welfare! OMG! couldn't have said it any better. Also feel that the new drug tests for welfare will help to stop much of the abuse in the system. In being a foster child (a ward of the state of Florida) (and they did a good job of raising me btw) i can say first hand that support & (love) plus good circumstances in favor of someone carries much weight for their future. Graduated in the top 10% of my class and there was no one to help me to go on to college etc. Had to work to keep myself off the street. Got pregnant by my assistant manager that was much older than me (who later turned out to be a jerk). Anyway started me off on an even harder foot due to know i had a child to consider. Had i more self esteem things may had worked out better for me. I am still poor 19 years later mostly do to more unforeseen circumstances. Yes, i have received food stamps (not currently) and welfare twice. If i had a support system to help babysit etc could work more and continue to better. Don't understand the welfare abuse that some speak of on here. Expect seen folks buying expensive meat and seafood or selling stamps (mostly due to drugs). We have to report our income every three months and our help goes up and down. If we don't report we can get into trouble. Suspension for 6 months to a year. Fines and jail time. They keep close tabs on your income. Have also been audited on many occasions by DCF. When i last got a welfare check in 2005, it was only for $205.00 and i have three kids and a husband. Could not pay light bill or phone bill so ended up being on the streets with my family. We have been homeless 4 times in the last 8 years. I can tell you it is no easier to live on government assistance programs than is for the elderly to survive or afford their bills on their income. I SO agree with the idea of the supplement or rewarding folks that really Try hard to get off gov help. Incentive is a great idea. You feel trapped. Like if i start doing okay for myself and lose medicaid. Okay for a while then one of my kids or me go to dr and i worry how am i gonna pay for this. Making less money can seem like a safety net. You worry if i can't get help and something happens to my child. Would blame myself forever that i am a bum. Is not their fault i made bad decisions that put us here. But there are some programs to help such as kid care low cost insurance. My youngest will be starting kindergarten and i am looking forward to going back to work soon. Anyway i pegged you right with the (big heart). You make me :)! Can you run for office & Charlie?

  5. I enjoy reading the ladies' views here and their spunk in sparring with one another on this issue. However, here is my dilemma. I work for a lawyer and it just hit me that with all the talk about separation of church and state we close everything (the courts, libraries, etc) for the Christmas holiday. The house and the senate approved to make it a federal holiday and Ulysses S. Grant declared Christmas a federal holiday way back in 1870. Christmas, no matter how you look at it, is a religious holiday – christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. Why would President Grant do that? And note there is no federal holiday for muslims, jews, etc. Even though through the years it has been challenged in the courts, Christmas still remains a federal holiday. So how do you explain that?

  6. (part 2)Another argument that I often hear is that forced charity is not charity at all. God has given us free will and who is the government to take it from us. Though I would agree that forced charity is not really charity, I do not buy into the argument that the government infringes upon our free will by providing a welfare system for which we are required to contribute. No man is an island. We are a society that consists of people whose actions affect one another. As such, it is imperative that society is governed in a way that maximizes the welfare of all of its citizens. When I help my fellowman, it ultimately helps all of society including me.Further, I definitely feel that the rich should definitely pay higher taxes. I admit, that I used to debate this issue in my own mind (or with Sylvia as I call my alter ego). After all, if we were all taxed at the same rate, someone who earns a million dollars a year is already paying more than a person who earns fifty thousand dollars. But, here is my argument. This nation has provided an economic climate that allows its citizens to prosper. Some prosper to a much greater extent than others. Those who have most benefited from the economic environment that has existed in this country are only being asked to give back a small portion of their earnings. I look at it as though they are buying something; they are purchasing the right to continue to prosper in this economic climate. They should have to pay more because they have received more. They would not have prospered as much in almost any other nation and therefore they need to pay something for that opportunity. Because of this, the argument that we are stealing from the rich to give to the poor is bothersome, especially when one might consider that perhaps the wealthy have more often been guilty of stealing from the poor.I know that there are many arguments for why the rich should not have to pay any more in taxes. These arguments range from infringing upon free will to the robbing of the rich to provide for the poor, but I believe that for many Republicans (I am not generalizing here—I don’t like it when Democrats are generalized as godless and immoral) these arguments are just arguments. They are not truly the underlying issue. I know that there are many who simply would rather give to charities other than the government. However, I think there is just as many or perhaps even more who simply do not want to give up one of their precious dollars to help their fellowman. After all, they deserve what they have earned. They have worked hard. I do not argue that many of them have worked very, very hard, but more than likely they were blessed with circumstances that allowed them to prosper. Do you know why I have prospered? I have prospered because I have been born in the United States of America. I have prospered because I was born to parents who wanted me and loved me. I have prospered because I have a sound mind and a healthy body. I have prospered because I have greater than average intelligence (probably genetic). I have prospered because I was able to afford an education. And, yes, I have prospered because of hard work. Out of all of the reasons I can think of that I have prospered, I only had an active part in one of them and even there I realize that I was surrounded by many wonderful role models. Most of us will never be asked to lay down our life for our country, but we are asked to lay down our money. I would rather do that.

  7. O.K. I'm back to agreeing with Charlie (Stephen) on this one, although I do see some other points. I also agree with Karen that this is not a Christian nation and that charity is not just a Christian value. Nevertheless, I believe the reason for so much criticism towards Christians in this regard, is because it is them that hold such a powerful presence in the GOP, which is always promoting cuts in social programs that benefit the underprivileged. I also believe that we need welfare reform to minimize abuse, however, we need to recognize that we will never eliminate abuse. Whenever there is a system to help provide for the needy, there will be those who abuse that system. It does not matter whether that system is provided by the government, a church, or a private charity. Yet, there are many, who because of no fault of their own, who truly need the help. If ten people abuse the system so that I can get the help to that one person, to me it is worth it. I do know, however, that we have limited resources and that is why it is important to do all that we can to minimize the abuse.I, like Jo, have always felt that we should not have an “all or nothing” approach. I agree with her when she asks regarding those who do not go to work because they cannot afford to, “Why can't the system "supplement" their salary until they can catch up? Why is welfare all or nothing? That would put MORE money back into the system to help others.” I believe this type of approach would benefit both the welfare recipient and the taxpayers. Yes, we do need welfare reform, but that does not mean we need to put less emphasis on welfare, but rather evaluate the way that it is provided and try to improve the system. Improving the system would allow us to help more who truly need it.(cont.)

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