Consecutive Days Riding: 110 Days Blogged: 98
New Mileage: 10 Total Trip Mileage: 817
As I ride the bike this morning I am reminded about two of the “certainties” of life. I recognize the wonderful uplifting and unexpected gifts that life, the universe, the divine places on our paths. Last night I sat in the audience as a local theater group presented a musical called Lying to the Sea Gypsy. The cast was comprised entirely of young actors. They sang and danced with an infectious joy and youthful energy.
This morning I woke to find the landscape blanketed in a beautiful, pristine covering of snow, highlighting the greens of the holly bushes and evergreen trees. You can be certain these gifts are always there, even if they are not always recognized or appreciated!
The second certainty is that life will always deal you “humbling” experiences! In the last several days I have experienced two such situations. Perhaps it’s just part of the aging process. You know you‘re getting old when you wake up with an ache or pain and you cannot remember what you did the day before to account for it! Last Thursday I spent some time clearing out brush from the woods near the house. I don’t remember any problems with my ankle, but Friday morning I could barely walk. My students got an unexpected day off from my classes as I worked with heating pad and ankle wraps to nurse it back to health. The best laid plans are just that: Plans. Sometime life intercedes and you can do little more than follow its lead.
My ankle pain was not the only humbling experience I was in for on Thursday. I posted my blog expressing my opinion about solar powered bibles being sent to Haiti. I received a number of comments, several voiced opinions supporting my position. However, several of my Christian friends pointed out that the group Faith Comes by Hearing, is also providing the solar powered bibles and in fact has teamed up with a long standing Christian relief organization called Convoy of Hope who is providing much needed medicine, food and shelter to the people of Haiti. In addition, they noted that the bibles had been requested by Convoy of Hope and other Christian relief organizations. So my visualization of pallets of unwanted electronic solar powered bibles sitting on some loading dock, taking up valuable space and “getting in the way” does not appear to fit with the reality of the situation. With a deep sense of humbleness, I noted to one of the commentators: “Anytime you open your mouth there is a good chance you will show your ignorance!”
What is the lesson here? Perhaps we should not speak before we have all the facts? Is it that we should in fact not speak at all and just keep our opinions to ourselves? Is it that we should speak softly and humbly, don’t shout or scream from our soap boxes, realizing that we may discover later that our interpretation was lacking and needs tweaking?
I went to the site posted by one of the Christian commentators and found an article entitled: Audio Bibles, Haiti and atheist hypocrisy. It presented the information about Convoy for Hope that I referenced earlier, but went on to make this statement: “Certainly, atheists, being absolute materialists, do not see human beings are anything but bio-organisms and require nothing but bio-organic fuel. Yet the Christian view is holistic and thus…. Provide food for both the body and food for the soul.” I cringed at this statement! I’m often called an atheist, because I do not experience the divine as a personal deity. I know God and have a relationship with God, but in a manner more commonly found in Eastern faiths. I and the other atheists I know have a “holistic” view of not just man, but of the whole world and its many ecosystems.
And what about this “atheistic hypocrisy” he mentioned? He notes: “The fact that for at least the last couple of years atheists worldwide have been literally wasting… donated money not in order to help anyone… but in order to purchase anti-theistic and pro-atheist bus ads and billboards in order to demonstrate just how clever they consider themselves to be.” I hesitate to respond to this statement with the criticism that it begs to elicit from atheists and all other non-believers: What about donated Christian money? How is it being used? For ads on billboards that say: “Don’t make me come down there! (from)God.” Or perhaps it’s used to build higher, larger, shinier monster churches?
This author goes on to note: “Now, they (atheists) suddenly anoint themselves the charity police, complain and condemn based, by the way, on relative-subjective-personal preference based “morality.” Ow! A very sweeping statement, lumping a lot of people (different backgrounds and experiences) into a cut and dried category! Who is sounding “self-anointed” in this presentation of positions?
While I values each person’s comments and opinions and I certainly feel that we all have rights to hold and express them. I have to again point out the questions I raised in my last posting: What are the consequences of your stated opinions? Do they take into account not only individual perceived needs, but those of the “others”, whether they are the survivors in Haiti or a bunch of atheists? This individual received kudos from others who are/were critical of the atheist’s criticism of the audio bible plan. I suspect some felt he had “scored points” for his side. But has it brought anyone together who was not already talking (i.e. preaching to the choir), has it helped find common ground between peoples of different faiths or no faith? Let me note that my criticism fits for both sides of this debate, for as I was searching for photos to use in today’s post I came across numerous sites, atheist sites I guess, that associated all Christian churches with hypocrisy, and in one case blasted them for: Believing in a paranoid sky fairy! Such rhetoric can do nothing but inflame negative emotions. It feeds into an “Us versus Them” stance that benefits no one in the long run. We, people of all faiths and philosophies, can do better. We must do this if we are to break out of our destructive cycles. I will start the process by apologizing to the backers of Faith Comes by Hearing for my uninformed criticism! Anyone else?
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