Consecutive Days Riding: 153 Days Blogged: 137
New Mileage: 4 Total Trip Mileage: 1053
As I ride the bike this afternoon I would like to respond to several comments on yesterday “Platinum Rule” topic. I agree with one viewer who pointed out that the rule, which takes into account what the receiver actually desires, leaves out the important fact that what people want is not always good for them. In some cases people will do downright destructive things if we give them what they want. I have many times sat with depressed individuals who wanted nothing more than to kill themselves. Sorry I wasn’t letting it happen on my watch!
Clearly some judgment needs to be made about the appropriateness of the “assistance” before it is given! However, I think the critical point is that in many cases when the Golden Rule is used, little or no effort is made to first ascertain what the receiver wants and desires. More often it seems to me that the giver takes the easier route of assuming they “know best” and act accordingly. This concern was part of what fueled an earlier blog where I was critical of a Christian group who wanted to send solar powered audio bibles to Haiti following the disastrous earth quake. Did they first ask the Haitian people to choose between audio bibles or tents, audio bibles or water? In general, could a lack of a consideration of the receiver’s needs, help to explain why we sometimes find our “gracious offers” accepted in a seemingly ungrateful manner?
While it is my experience that listening and considering others needs takes more time and effort, I believe it is worth the expense! Taking the easier “we just assume we know what they want or need” approach has not lead to a decrease in violence and suffering on our planet. We have got to do something different. Why not trade up to a higher grade rule?
What does this have to do with the title of today’s blog? Nothing, because the title speaks to a newspaper article and an internet story I wanted to briefly share. Earlier this month Nicholas Kristof, a writer for the New York Times wrote an opinion piece in the Times entitled: World Aid: Evangelicals Blaze the Path. He argues that evangelicals have cast off many of the old negative stereotypes and become “the new internationalists, pushing successfully for new American programs against AIDS and malaria and doing superb work on issues from human trafficking in India to mass rape in the Congo.”
He notes that the organization “World Vision” has 40,000 staff members in over 100 different countries and that it has banned the use of aid to lure anyone into a religious conversion. I was relieved and impressed to read this as I have often feared that such aid can and is used to coerce needy people to “find the Lord” in order to receive aid. It sounds like the Platinum Rule may already be in place within some organizations. Let me quote Mr. Kristof’s final paragraph as I believe it contains an important message for all of us. “If secular liberals can give up some of their snootiness, and if evangelicals can retire some of their sanctimony, then we all might succeed together in making greater progress against common enemies of humanity such as illiteracy, human trafficking and maternal mortality.”
The second item I want to briefly comment on is a series of recent announcements where top Muslim clerics have denounced the terror attacks directed against the United States and its allies. I feel that it is important to highlight these developments as I still find far too many people believing that “all Muslims” want to kill us and that Islam is a dangerous faith. One story was entitled: “Top Muslim Clerics Issue a Fatwa Denouncing Terror Attacks.” A Fatwa is an important religious edict which states an authoritative opinion on a religious matter. This edict called those terrorists who attacked the U.S. and Canada “evil” and was signed by some twenty Muslim Imams in Canada. I’ve read of similar Fatwas issued by important Imams in Europe and the Middle East. I applaud these efforts and believe that we non-Muslims should do everything in our power to support and strengthen the positions of these moderate Islamic religious leaders. Ultimately terrorism will be defeated, or at least beaten back and minimized, only if the larger silent moderate masses of Muslim stand up and reclaim the mantle of their faith from the radical CULT which spreads hatred and destruction in their name.
I would like to again applaud both the evangelical World Vision organization and these courageous Imams. In both cases we are seeing a movement from the moderate center of Christianity and Islam to reclaim the mantle of their respective faith from radical Cults and/or fundamentalists. All of us who claim other faiths or no faith at all should do everything we can to support these movements as the safety and peace of the world likely depends upon their success!
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