Rick Warren, Interfaith Activist

Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham – at the center of not only his own Christian tradition, but of … Continued

Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham – at the center of not only his own Christian tradition, but of American civil religion as well. Churches follows his direction (most recently into Rwanda), and political candidates seek his blessing (Exhibit A: The Saddleback Forum).

There has been a lot of talk about the risks that Warren has taken – inviting the pro-choice Obama to address a decidedly pro-life gathering on the topic of AIDS, for example.

Another risk he is taking – more subtle, perhaps, but equally profound – is around religious diversity.

Last week at the Clinton Global Initiative, Warren was asked how “the church” could help to solve poverty. His response was to rattle off the numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians in the world – in that order – and make a plea that the public and private sectors take seriously “the faith sector as the third leg of the stool of successful development”.

Warren consistently used the language of a religious pluralist. He spoke of “mosques, temples and churches” as central to the life of villages in the developing world. He underscored the fact that there are huge numbers of people of faith in the world, and huge numbers of houses of worship in places where clinics, banks and schools don’t exist. Those people of faith can be trained to be the arms and legs of any development plan, and those houses of worship can double as clinics, banks and schools.

This is a big deal, because it signals an important turn in the American Evangelical tradition – from viewing people of other faiths primarily as lost souls requiring conversion to viewing them as partners in the plan to make earth more humane and just. “Progressive Evangelicals” like Jim Wallis, Brian McLaren and Tony Campolo (read an interview here with Campolo on interfaith cooperation), have long been involved in interfaith efforts, but the mainline of that tradition has always been more wary. That could be changing.

I caught up with Warren after the panel and asked him directly how he thought about religious diversity. He talked to me about his friendship with his Muslim neighbor, and about how excited he was to speak at the upcoming MPAC conference in December. He was keenly aware of the important role that Muslims played in helping victims during the genocide in Rwanda, and he was engaging that community in his current efforts in that country.

That approach is American pragmatism at its best: a visionary leader engaging all possible partners in his plan to transform earth.

When I asked Warren to name something that he admired about Muslims, he answered without hesitation: “you people are not afraid to talk about God, he said with a smile. It’s always, ‘God willing’, or ‘God bless’, or ‘Thanks be to God.’ That’s something I admire, because I come from the same place.”

That is American religion at its best.

Let’s hope the church and the country follow.

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  • EWemmelman

    If gluttony is a sin, then the obese Rick Warren is a terrible sinner.

  • EWemmelman

    If gluttony is a sin, the obese Mr. Warren is a terrible sinner.Mr Warren, share some of your food with Africa, you disgusting fatso!

  • skewb

    Engaging all possible partners? I think not Mr. Patel, for I see no mention of non-believers.You and yours can go on pretending we don’t exist, or that we’re some disgruntled fringe group. You can go on acting like faith trumps all other virtues, or that philosophies free of deities are inherently immoral. You can deny that we have anything of value to offer this world. But remember that this behavior reflects the fallibility of your own beliefs, and an underlying prejudice you’d like us all to forget about.

  • iamweaver

    SkewB writes:”Engaging all possible partners? I think not Mr. Patel, for I see no mention of non-believers.”Most faith-based charitable organizations already work with “faith-neutral” NGOs like the Red Cross.

  • Farnaz2

    Interesting whom Mr. Warren omits, Jews for instance, Bahai, animists, atheists, etc. People can do whatever they’d like to help those poor who wish their help. The price of assistance should not be conversion (sound familiar, Eboo? It should to Rick Warren), and help should not be subsidized with taxpayer dollars.Farnaz (the one and only around here)

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz2 writes:”Interesting whom Mr. Warren omits, Jews for instance, Bahai, animists, atheists, etc.”How is that interesting? You expect him to pull out a book listing all the religious-oriented relief agencies in the world and sonorously read them off in some bizarre opening paragraph? He listed the top 5 religions worldwide in terms of claimed membership. I guess that one might assume that his quick list was somehow limiting – but the scope of his words pretty much invalidates that assumption.But as for atheists – AFAIK, there are no major charities that are designed to promote the “null religious” vector (a quick Google search shows only one that might or might not be a scam, but its site has been under construction for an indefinite amount of time, never a good sign), though as I mentioned below, there are many faith-neutral agencies.

  • ThishowIseeit

    Early Christians were peaceful, never killed and grabbed the land of others; not so in the early years of Islam.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:”‘Interesting whom Mr. Warren omits, Jews for instance, Bahai, animists, atheists, etc.’””How is that interesting? You expect him to pull out a book listing all the religious-oriented relief agencies in the world and sonorously read them off in some bizarre opening paragraph? He listed the top 5 religions worldwide in terms of claimed membership. I guess that one might assume that his quick list was somehow limiting – but the scope of his words pretty much invalidates that assumption.”HUH? First of all, he doesn’t discuss “relief agencies.” Second, he lists four, not five religions, and third, where does he mention “claimed membership”?Before I go on, take a moment and reread the article. When you’ve finished, ponder this: Description is prescription. What is mentioned takes on significance partly in terms of what is not.As for me, you omit the crucial part of my comment, perhaps because you didn’t first read Patel’s essay. The price tag of help from the Rick Warrens of this world is conversion. The same is true of the Catholics, who are busy converting Dalit, even as I write. If Rick Warren wishes to put together an ecumenical anti-poverty program that does not involve conversion, I’d certainly support it AFTER tax exemptions are removed from institutionalized religions. Said tax dollars, among them my own, should go to a well-planned, well-supervised, well-coordinated, nonsectarian world-wide relief effort. Farnaz (the one and only around here)

  • EnemyOfTheState

    From this unbeliever’s point of view, I think it’s better for the world’s religions to be at each other. When they start getting “ecumenism” and working together, that’s when I start getting nervous. I don’t need them cooperating and ganging up on me.And – by the way – people of all faiths and no faith provide help to others. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that only believers dedicate themselves to a better world.One World.Peace.

  • iamweaver

    You are right. He mentioned the top 4 (not 5) religions in terms of membership, and, to quote from the article, “rattle[d] off the numbers of Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims and Christians in the world “. That doesn’t invalidate my point – or rather, that doesn’t make your initial statement any more valid.As for your main point – about the price of assistance, it takes all of one logical deductive step from the prime point of paragraph 6 (and, essentially the entire article) to make it clear that conversion isn’t the “pricetag” for those that need assistance, either (of course, for many, it has never been the pricetag). To me as a Christian, that is completely unsurprising. One of the two prime tenets of our faith, to “love your neighbor as yourself”, has absolutely no qualifiers attached to that statement.The article talks about cooperating with other faiths, mostly because many communities have “houses of worship in places where clinics, banks and schools don’t exist.” I imagine that somewhere in the world there probably exists a few communities where organized groups of atheists exist but the other (secular) institutions such as schools, clinics, and banks are not present – but if so, it’s a tiny outlier.As far as I know, relief and development agencies are the only means outside of their government that both secular and faith-based people use to “help solve poverty”. If you know of another vehicle available, please mention it.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:I don’t think we’ve read the same essay, and I doubt we’re on the same page. Conversion is the price tag Christianity attaches to much of its help abroad. Surely, you don’t mean to deny this for to do so would be silly. It may be that Christianity doesn’t think of conversion as a price tag, but as an “act of love”; however, when it comes along with education, food, etc., then it is coercion. There is nothing loving about it, no matter who does it.As for the rest of what you write, it is addressed in my previous comment. I would very much like to see tax exempt status for religious institutions ended forthwith. Whatever faith-based nonsense remains to be challenged in the Supreme Court, I hope to see there ASAP. Relief efforts should then be planned, coordinated, etc., along nonsectarian lines I suggested in my earlier remarks.

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz2:Clearly, your definition of price-tag and mine differ. For me, a price tag is a prerequisite for something. To get X, you must purchase it with Y. For you, it seems to be, “if you get X, and admire the person who gave you X, you might decide to emulate them.” But that is not the issue in this article, in fact, this article is about an approach that is diametrically opposed to what you see as a concern.Rick Warren is advocating tying into faith-based local communities, regardless of the faith, and utilizing their cohesiveness and sense of social concern, *regardless* of the local faith. This means, christian outreach programs offering financial assistance to animalistic, or Baha’i, or Buddhist local communities, or even using another faith’s outreach programs to assist their local communities. Finding a link between providing aid to local communities in this fashion and your “price tag” is going to be pretty tough to do – frankly, I don’t see it there at all.As for you concerns about tax-free issues, I don’t think that’s particularly relevant to this conversation, since coordination of this sort would take place either way.

  • wordvarc

    Individuals send 15″x12″x30″ boxes of stuff to Rwanda where Warren flies around in the president’s helicopter. They work alone despite expertise existing on how best to help the poor. Most humanitarian organizations view Saddleback’s effort’s as ineffective and self promoting. Warren has quite an operation. Many acres of pricey California Real Estate. He’s careful never to disclose how he travels or the total budget for his operations. Saddleback claims 70,000 ‘members; 15-20,000 for 5-6 weekend services. Three lanes of traffic in and out of several access roads. Stadium style orange cones, parking and traffic directors everywhere. Walmart style greeters shaking hands with strangers as though they are best friends. Disneyland style kids facilities. Kid’s studying the same message and verses the adults hear in a worship center with stadiun sized TV screens. Cafe settings with big screen TV’s to watch the service. A separate corporate executive staff office with security and a security gate…He’s known primarily as a “prooftexter.” That’s about picking and choosing verses from all over the Bible to prove any point he feels like pushing at the moment. There’s little depth. It’s sometimes superficially helplful but as problematic as a politician justify an unjustifiable war. It’s the difference between a correlational statistic and a true statistical analysis…Good for conversation but not dependable.Saddleback is the Walmart of megachurches. Warren’s success came as a disciple of Peter Drucker who in his later years at Clairmont was saddened by corporate greed and the extreme salaries of corporate executives who had successfully used his organizational techniques and ideas. Drucker turned his efforts to help NPO’s. Warren’s success was ‘blessed’ by Drucker’s brilliance. Saddleback is a good performance and a great California toll road, not much different than watching television’s TBN. His “Purpose Driven” trademark is elegantly derived from the Judeo-Christian teliological concept that history has a purpose, direction, and endpoint based on God’s love for mankind. He’s proud to be a “good guy around good people” and protects himself from anything deeper or more complicated. While Billy Grahm was described as having an arrogant humility and shamelessly promoted Jesus, Warren’s a shameless self promoter. That’s about all there is to Warren.

  • Farnaz2

    wordvarc:You know it’s too bad, really, but I kind of read Warren as you describe him. I couldn’t have guessed the specifics, of course, and I thank you for providing them.Patel presents as a gentle man, but never as a fool. He must know that some of what he writes here is self-contradictory. Perplexing.

  • spidermean2

    Jesus said “The truth shall set you free”.The problem with this world is they don’t have the truth. This world is doomed because so many false beliefs (evolution, false religions, atheism, etc) float around. Warren will do better if he starts targeting devilish doctrines. Continents would burn because of these false doctrines. “Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, SEVERITY; but toward thee, GOODNESS, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be CUT OFF. (Romans 11:22)MUCH OF THE WORLD WILL BE CUT OFF BY GOD. If Warren’s effort will not save their soul, it is useless.What shall it profit them if Warren heals their body but loses their soul?

  • ASTORIA

    A good heart is a good heart- there are no perfect people- and one can deconstruct and find fault with anyone if they try hard enough- Today, for me- is the last day of Ramadan- I broke my last fast at 6:52PM today- It will pass the american landscape basically unnoticed and unapplauded- Eid Mubarak Brother Patel-

  • laxmi1

    No word by Mr. Patel on Muslims blowing up 950 civlians during Ramadan (TROP website).

  • kert1

    I have been behind Warren in some things but I can’t get behind him in this. I really have to wonder if he is trying to do too much by his own strength. Maybe he should be doing what God’s word preaches and let God do the rest.I do think there are some situations where joining with other religions on like minded issues, but this is not one of them. The main reason is the nature of poverty. Poverty is a product of evil in this world, such as war, steeling, dishonesty, promiscuity, laziness, and opression. The way to eliminate poverty is to make people moral. There are other ways to help people but until we get morality as the basis, there will always be poverty.The Bible tells us that the poor will always be among us and we are to help them. The real help is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which promotes morality and moreover saves the soul. I have seen the Gospel change a group of people from literally living in their own filth to clean and responsible people. The change in their living circumstances doesn’t compare to their change of heart. I really believe that as Christians we must believe that the Gospel is the only true way to help people.I am not saying that other religions or groups can’t help poverty, and they should. I just don’t agree with joining too closely with them. They obviously won’t support my Gospel and I can’t support their message. Christian’s need to stand on their ideals first.I have to be faithful in what I have seen and I think Rick Warren should be too. Is he really supporting a group that promotes other ways to God when he knows the true way? Does he think that other religions can really combat poverty effectively without the truth. I would like to hear his answer.

  • CCNL

    The simple preacher man aka Jesus, noted apparently while a prostitute bathed his feet in oil, “You will always have the destitute/poor with you, but you will not always have me” when the apostles complained about spending money on the oil (and prostitute??). Very strange comment by Jesus to begin with and way too much made of it with respect to the poor and destitute. A real diety, IMO, would have said, “away wench, we are in the business of ending poverty”. He didn’t and couldn’t because he was not diety!!!

  • EarlC

    A well-written article. Having taught “A Purpose Driven Life” to my adult Bible study class several years ago, I found Rick Warren to be a different brand of protestant. I was pleased that my Southern Baptist Church took time out from the normal curriculum to teach Warren’s book. Unfortunately, my church as well as the SBC doesn’t get it. I am still waiting for the SBC to free itself from the clutches of fundamentalism.

  • MPatalinjug

    Yonkers, New YorkThe way Eboo Patel describes him, Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church indeed appears to be a different kind of evangelical Christian in that he has secular concerns like POVERTY and RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY, other than religious or ideological concerns such as abortion, birth control, same-sex marriage, and a religious litmus test for judges, which are the priority if not the exclusive and obsessive concerns of most other evangelical Christians.My sense is that America and the world would be a better place if there were more of Rick Warren’s kind around.But, alas, Rev. Warren is a rara avis!Mariano Patalinjug

  • moemongo

    There can be no solution with religion. Solutions to poverty and the environment have to do with reason and logic. Religion is about faith and about denying reason. When someone says that religion can be used for good, you better run the other way and fast.

  • Uoughtano

    Divide By Zero is the GOD number: incalculable and incomprehensible.

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz2 – a couple of observations:Yes – this is “faith-based”, but not really by any other name. There is no relabeling – but this is faith-based without the hook of conversion attached from the ones offering the assistance to those local to the problem (I would think that you would applaud that).I agree absolutely that any pretensions of some great, global change should not be read from this article. We are talking about one preacher in one evangelical denomination of one religion. However, a large number of Christians in many denominations have read his book, “The Purpose Driven Life”, in some kind of ecumenical study group, and that no doubt will give his words a little more added weight than the average mega-church pastor.As for your most important question, “And how precisely would this work?” – I think it’s a vital question once one starts moving from rhetoric to action, but the thoughts behind the rhetoric alone would be a big step in a new direction for most faith-based relief and development agencies. It might well be that Rick Warren doesn’t have the answers. That is less important for me than whether the thoughts he raises are valid – and I think that they are, in general. Secular agencies are unlikely to use local religious groups (with or without physical structures), which is, IMO, too bad as I can see that this could be an efficiency multiplier. Unlike you, I am less concerned with whose hand holds out the food, or teaches the course, or repairs the dwelling, than I am with the fact that someone is fed, or learns, has shelter.

  • ThomasBaum

    CCNLYou wrote, “The simple preacher man aka Jesus, noted apparently while a prostitute bathed his feet in oil, “You will always have the destitute/poor with you, but you will not always have me” when the apostles complained about spending money on the oil (and prostitute??). Very strange comment by Jesus to begin with and way too much made of it with respect to the poor and destitute. A real diety, IMO, would have said, “away wench, we are in the business of ending poverty”. He didn’t and couldn’t because he was not diety!!!”Have you ever thought that maybe the “business of ending poverty” was not the reason that God became One of Us?Take care, be ready.Sincerely, Thomas Paul Moses Baum.

  • coloradodog

    Spiderman, read 1 Samuel 2:3Talk no more so exceeding proudly; let not arrogancy come out of your mouth: for the LORD is a God of knowledge, and by him actions are weighed.

  • nallcando

    Enemyofthestate-I don’t see many atheist organizations out there helping to solve poverty. Mostly it appears to be a alot of whining about how people actually believing in God, and make assumptions about believers that are far reaching.Hello???? There are no atheist organizations out there,,,It would kind of defeat the purpose of being an atheist, Dim wit!I would be willing to bet that there are just as many atheist out there, helping mankind, as there are supposed Christians, just because you are a Christian (Which I really doubt!) does not mean you hold the reins on morals…

  • MILLER123

    Always lookout for someone who says “you people”

  • MILLER123

    “Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham”Sorry, Mr. Warren. I know Billy Graham. He is a friend of mine. And you sir aren’t no Billy Graham.

  • FRIENDENEMY

    Does he talk kindly of people of no faith? What does he admire about non-believers?

  • flipper49

    >Warren’s words and works make a lot of sinners comfortable with performing their sins…nothing more. It’s such a shame that Rick Warren doesn’t grasp the gospel message…that there is salvation from sin. I read his Purpose Driven nonsense, and nearly every Scripture reference twisted the meaning of the verses into what HE wanted them to mean. He’s just like Joel Osteen…a master at entertainment … nothing more. His greed is his motivation, not saving souls.As for saying that Warren is another Bully Graham is a terrible insult to Graham and every other true Christian. He’s such a phony! His supporters rave about his unselfishness in pointing out that he has returned a lot of his pay back to the church. Not a big deal at all when one OWNS the church; it still goes back into his pocket!

  • EnemyOfTheState

    You asked Warren to say something positive about Muslims — well how about saying something positive about atheists and agnostics, who labor to make a better world without hope of an after life and little reward expected in this world.Who’s the better person? Someone who serves others in the hope of attaining heaven, or someone who serves others and knows there is no reward at the end except the knowledge of having done the right thing?

  • rbaldwin2

    LOL!!! Is a Tulsa sky scraper now going to be his new base of operations?? Is he going to make a stand like charlatans before him?? This man is a JOKE! Same ole hand waving, fake fire breathing, smoke spewing, crap peddling as the last bozo..These fairy tale tellers should all head to somewhere else and lay hands on each other so they all go away at the same time…It is good for a daily laugh…

  • IbelongtoElElyon

    The quote – “Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham”… grieves my heart. Billy Graham spent his life preaching the gospel -proclaiming Jesus Christ as the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE. In John 14:6, “Jesus said, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.’” Billy Graham’s message is Jesus death as payment for the sins of the world and Jesus resurrection from the dead to conquer death and the grave for all who put their faith in Jesus alone. Rick Warren is not concerned with preaching truth. He takes scripture out of context and uses it for his own selfish ambitions. If Rick Warren is trying to unite the world… it certainly isn’t to attain peace, but rather to one day take the credit for it – promoting himself above all others to include the Lord, Jesus Christ. Additionally, in response to other numerous posts – Christians are not out to deceive people by handing them food in exchange for a conversion. The heart of the true follower of Jesus Christ is a heart of love and compassion for the unbeliever. The reason we love is because Christ first loved us. The reason we give is because Christ gave His life. We can not be silent when we know that the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ will set people free. There is no treachery in the message of the Gospel… it is the answer to mankind’s core problem – separation from God because of sin. There is no trick… only truth. Read the book of John in the New Testament of the Bible – see the truth for yourself.

  • TheWatchman

    Rick Warren does NOT speak for the Christian faith or church. He speaks for an apostate church that pushes pluralism. The First Commandment was written down by Moses, not Rick Warren! “I am the Lord thy God. Thou shalt have no other gods before Me.” Exodus 20:2,3 That is one God, singular. Warren is a sissy who has bought into an endtime Babylonian theology as a result of his strong delusion. Don’t even begin to compare him to Rev. Billy Graham. Call him a “Billy Goat” instead because he is not part of God’s sheep who know His voice. Jesus’ voice said, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life: no man cometh to the Father but by ME.” John 14:6 Why does the media always pick sissies to speak for the Church? Warren is not the voice of the Church, he’s an weak echo. If you want to hear a real voice, go to thenextstrike.com for a State of the Union address you will not soon forget!

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:”Unlike you, I am less concerned with whose hand holds out the food, or teaches the course, or repairs the dwelling, than I am with the fact that someone is fed, or learns, has shelter.”You are either very naive or not well read in world affairs. Whose hand is everything. As a Christian, you should be able to grasp this, at least in a moral sense.Let me give you an example from history. While we were supporting a dictator in South Vietnam talking about freedom, the Communists were inching up the North, bringing food, medicine, literacy, etc. Guess what happened?How will the Dalit be helped by Rick Warren’s “vision”? Right now, they’re being helped by Catholics who are converting them.First come the missionaries, then the anthropologists. Do you know who comes next?

  • marctrius

    Happy New (Jewish) Year!

  • Paganplace

    I mean, hey. Seriously. Just cause a right-winger says ‘Christians and Jews *and* Muslims* while trying to sell something political they’d be saying, anyway, don’t mean they’re ‘pluralist.’ Don’t lose your head, here. That’s not pluralism, that’s just trying to say, ‘Look, there is blessed sameness on this issue. See?’

  • Counterww

    Enemyofthestate-I don’t see many atheist organizations out there helping to solve poverty. Mostly it appears to be a alot of whining about how people actually believing in God, and make assumptions about believers that are far reaching.

  • Farnaz2

    Okay, let me come at this another way. Much of what this article concerns is “faith-basedness” by another name. Let’s look at rhetoric and proceed from there to substance. Rick Warren is the new Billy Graham?”Rick Warren is our new Billy Graham – at the center of not only his own Christian tradition, but of American civil religion as well. Churches follows his direction (most recently into Rwanda), and political candidates seek his blessing (Exhibit A: The Saddleback Forum).”A. Billy Graham was never at the center of “American civil religion,” whatever the heck that means.B. Churches follow his direction? Huh? Which churches? And what about the mosqs, temples, etc?Now, let us look at this:”Those people of faith can be trained to be the arms and legs of any development plan, and those houses of worship can double as clinics, banks and schools.”Really? And, how, precisely would that work? Especially with the Dalit? Gee, that I’d like to know. Finally, it is probably the case that all this is feel good silliness. Houses of worship cannot double as clinics, and at least for Jews, not as banks, since money cannot be brought into a temple. Animists don’t have temples. Neither do atheists, as least as far as I know.A much saner approach would be nonsectarian. And no Rick Warren, please.

  • lettie1

    Sorry, I am of the old school. Christ taught that you should not go out into the streets and preach and draw attention to yourself. Instead you should do your good deeds in secret. Too many of these “ministers” are sitting atop millions of their own money, and got it under the guise of helping the less fortunate.If that’s true, live like Mother Teresa did. Like one of the poor – then I would be more apt to donate.

  • pointofdiscovery

    Inspiring! This is spirit.

  • Usama1

    Abhaab, 1) Ibn Ishaaq is an early Muslim scholar who did not have the high intellectual standards or scholarly rigor developed by later scholarship. So much of his early work was criticized, revised, and editted several times by prominent later scholars. Even his original work is not accepted as a source by certain schools of jurisprudence. So simply quoting Ibn Ishaaq to establish something about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) is intellectually unsound and inferior. But for the purpose of misinformation and spreading lies or mislead unknowing readers, I suppose it works. Except those truly seeking the TRUTH will be guided regardless. 2) Safiyya was a princess and daughter of the chief of a prominent Jewish tribe called Banu Nadir. She was also from noble maternal lineage from another Jewish tribe called Banu Qurayza. She was also a descendent of the Prophet Aaron (as), the brother of the Prophet Moses (as). Both of these tribes once were at peace with the Muslims of Madinah, having signed a Covenent with the Prophet Muhammad (saaw).3) Khaybar was a city in northern Arabia to the north of Madinah lying on the trade route between Makka and the Roman empire in Jerusalem and Damascus. It was not originally a Muslim city. Rather, its leaders supported war against Madinah. 4)There are many Quranic verses addressing the relations between the Jewish tribes of Madinah, including Banu Nadir, and the Muslims. After the Muslims were defeated by the Makkans at the battle of Uhud, Banu Nadir chose to betray their covenant with Muhammad (saaw) because they thought the Muslims were weak and they could recapture control of Madinah. They plotted to assasinate Muhammad when he visited his enclave. But he discovered their plot. 5)Prophets of God do NOT take kindly to treachery in violation of Covenant recognized by God. Just look at how Moses dealt with such treachery. But Muhammad (saaw) was lenient on Banu Nadir, allowing them exile to the city of Khaybar. Safiyya went to Khaybar with her father who tried to assasinate the Prophet (saaw). 6)Another Jewish tribe of Madinah, Banu Qaynuqa, violated the Covenant but the Prophet was lenient on them too, allowing them exile to Khaybar. 7)While in Khaybar, both Jewish tribes conspired with the Makkans to attack Madinah. So the Muslims of Madinah were surrounded, Makka invaded from the south and Khaybar and the various Arab tribes of the north invaded from the north. This was called the battle of the Ditch. But the Muslims prevailed. 8)Muhammad (saaw) signed a peace treaty with Makka after the Battle of the Ditch called the treaty of Hudaybiyah. After this, he faced Khaybar which conspired against Madinah and was NOT a signatory to the treaty.9)Muhammad (saaw) liberated the city of Khaybar, but much of the property and wealth of the city was forfeited as spoils of war. But the people of Khaybar were allowed to remain. Casaulties numbers after the battle at Khaybar: 11 Muslims, 39 Jews. 10)Safiyya (raa) was held as a captive and slave after her father and husband were killed. But the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) granted her freedom and offered to marry her, which she chose and accepted Islam. She was henceforth titled: Mother of the Believers, the highest of status of the Muslim people which she upheld with honor and dignity until she passed away years later being held in the highest regard by all Muslims and buried in the cemetary next to the Prophet’s mosque in Madinah. So the treacherous legacy of her father put her in slavery, but God provided her wih the highest honor. 11)By marrying Safiyya, Muhammad (saaw) united two opposing Jewish tribes, Banu Nadir and Banu Qurayza, with his own family and the Muslim people at the highest status, an effort to end the destructive conflict permanently. 12)Even after this effort by the Prophet Muhammad (saaw), the Banu Nadir and Banu Qaynuqa in Khaybar conspired and supported Roman invasion from the north which led to 2 military expeditions, one which caused the death of many close companions of the Prophet (saaw). As well, when the Prophet was in Khaybar, his food was poisoned by a Jewish operative. She killed one man and the poison later is considered the cause of death of the Prophet Muhammad (saaw) after he had completed his mission and office, but death is determined only by God.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:I’m not talking about my father’s day, although since he is alive, his day continues. I’m afraid you are more than a bit presumptuous. I’ve spent time in Iran, India, Pakistan, Dar, Nigeria, Kenya, etc. I’ve seen firsthand ideology bear fruit through conversion and the consequences to the converted. The dead don’t eat.We are obviously having difficulty communicating. Perhaps there is too much to be said on this, more than this thread can accommodate. I can only repeat that you and your Daddy notwithstanding, a nonsesctarian, coordinated aid effort of the sort I described could have some success.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:Last post on this. You write of your decade’s work, etc., and then of colonialism as if it were a thing of the past! Are you sure you were working above ground? I’m willing to go along with Neocolonialism, though like many others, I think garbage by any other name stinks to the same extent.You may not impose your personal views theological or otherwise on other people without reaping the catastrophes we’ve seen. The world has changed in the last several years. Nor may you interfere with local religious institutions whose patterns may be internally oppressive. Fortunately, you may not be in a position to attempt this, fortunately, that is, for you.

  • Farnaz2

    Irischermann : I will respond to you as best I can. First, I can say to you that you don’t appear to be Christian. You revile me, accuse me of hateful things without evidence. This isn’t consistent with the teachings of Christianity.While conversionism may be a part of whatever religion you adhere to, the notion that other’s beliefs–Judaism, Islam, Hinduism–are inferior to yours and that said believers need to be “saved” in ways your system deems proper is dismissive, authoritarian, colonialist. And more and more, people resent it and see it as ideological. Often, those at the front lines, missionaries, anthropologists, et al, are quite sincere, don’t recognize what will follow them. They need, therefore, to question their basic assumptions.What do I mean by saved? Is there another world view? Are there others? Is it possible that the lord has a covenant with all peoples, as, for instance, Judaism maintains.Christianity doesn’t always seek conversion. In Pakistan for decades, Catholics have run schools in which they permit Muslims to be Muslims, wise, since otherwise said Catholics would be in danger.But what these Catholics are doing is more than cautious. It shows respect, decency, and understanding.Again, I don’t think you could be Christian, since Christians are not haters, are they? Not bigots who think their way is the only way, are they?Farnaz

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz:Adjectives are everything. I said, “less concerned”, not “blithely unconcerned”. Yet your examples are weak – your first example is rather off topic and yet is an argument on my side – those eBil Commies were doing more good than sugar-daddy US, supporting a dictator with one hand and grasping at military profits with the other. If I were a traditional fundamentalist Christian I would have been behind the US all the way, yet I am not…I assume that in your second example, you are showing that in the cases where local society is fragmented, it might not be possible to utilize local religious resources because they are part of the very power structure that is oppressing those who are marginalized. So true. Then again, I cannot use a saw to help me build a mud-daub house, but that doesn’t make the saw a useless tool, just one that cannot be applied in all circumstances.The second part of your post confuses me, though. Are you angry that someone is helping the Dalit? Or are you positing that the conversion to Christianity is worse than their initial condition?You seem bent on preventing anyone who does not share your world view from assisting others, or if they do so, that they must do so in a fashion that allows your world-view to prevail. That seems the more naive path, to me.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:Re: The DalitCatholics are helping the Dalit and they are converting them at the same time. What would you like to call this process?At present, it’s going on on a very small scale. There is, I don’t think, any danger of a backlash. Should it be attempted on a large scale….I leave it to your well travelled self to draw the obvious conclusions.The Dalit need help en masse. We are talking of millions who are literally enslaved. Attempting to conver them all…?

  • iamweaver

    One final note – your last sentences are, again, a supporting factor for Rick Warren’s ideas. His method of utilizing resources “on the ground” goes against the traditional missionary movement (actually, I am sure it’s designed to supplement it). This reduces the number of the poor who end up believing in things that you do not, so why you keep harping on the traditional methods of evangelism is rather beyond me…

  • EliPeyton

    How does a person get to heaven? Is there one right answer?

  • spidermean2

    Farnaz wrote “Christianization is the first step in imperialism.”Evangelical churches mostly believes in local autonomy. They don’t have any central figure like the pope in Catholicism. Our “empire” is our little local church which is independent from other evangelical churches. Catholicism is NOT Christianity. Catholicsim is an empire but true Christianity is not. It’s a relationship between Jesus Christ and the person. A ONE ON ONE relationship. Our main focus is the Kingdom of Heaven and not any idiot empire on earth.FREEDOM IS OUR TWIN and SUBJUGATION IS OUR ENEMY. The reason why the U.S is a freedom defender is because of its true Christian heritage. Before the U.S existed, Europe subjugated this world and no European country during those days were Evangelical Christians.If ever the U.S will somehow RULE this world, it is NOT because we choose it but because we will INHERIT IT by the WILL of God.After WW3, the U.S will become as the SOLE Superpower and it’s not our making. The same way King David had acquired the throne of Jerusalem. Survival of the fittest? God will chose who is the fittest. Many parts of the U.S will burn because of unbelief but despite that it still is the fittest in the eyes of God because there are still many who believes. Liberal America will burn but the remaining conservative America will Rule the world for a thousand years. That is the prophecy and nobody can disanul it. Those who will try will surely fry. And yet they will try to fulfill the prophecy.

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:I don’t know how to be any clearer. Religious institutions are inherently oppressive in many countries. It could be argued that converting the Dalit is a good thing, since it could enable them to move into the business class. That is, those who aren’t enslaved. ON the other hand, in time it would raise the ire of the Hindus if it occurred on a large scale and would be viewed as imperialism. Wonder why.If you cast your eyes beyond the borders of this country, outside of Europe to the African continent to Asia you will find first the missionaries, then the anthropologists, then the imperialists. The order is rough, since occasionally there was overlap.Christianization is the first step in imperialism.The best solution is well-planned, well-coordinated, nonsectarian aid, drawing on local knowledge.

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz:”The Dalit need help en masse. We are talking of millions who are literally enslaved. Attempting to conver them all…?”Again – you infer connections where none exist. I wonder if you have actually spoken to very many missionaries – I have talked to scores. Their purpose is to help, not convert. They will talk for hours about people in their local communities, and the assistance that they need, or the issues that they are facing as individuals, not their progress towards faith conversion. If conversions happen, they are via osmosis – those who wish to emulate the fairly altruistic and selfless individuals who have interrupted careers in an industrialized nation to come and help teach, or practice medicine, or what have you. This is precisely why Rick Warren’s suggestion is pretty obvious.Have you actually been to any of these places where you feel that colonialism is still strong, and somehow supported by the religious establishment? Speaking for myself, I can say that the only plae where the vestiges of the old colonialistic system still hold any sway at all is Cote d’Ivoir. For me – this covers Nigeria, Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Mali, CAR, Morocco, UAC and Iraq.Most “old timer” missionaries that I personally know of that were in Africa or the Caribbean in the “bad old days”like my aunts and uncles weren’t even from the same country that imposed “order” over the hapless natives (for example – check out the number of missions in Congo in the 50s, and see how many of them were Belgian). You will find that your supposed causal links do not exist. Missionaries entered “primitive” lands irrespective of the governments that ended up seizing control of the local populations – and, IMO, those governments could give a rat’s ass about whose missionaries were there or not.

  • CCNL

    Usama1, Usama1, Usama1,Indeed if you really were a former bred, born and brainwashed Christian, you now have unfortunately have been brainwashed into the Islamic cult. We offer a free, Five Step Method for Deprogramming Islam:Are you ready? Using “The 77 Branches of Islamic “faith” a collection compiled by Imam Bayhaqi as a starting point. In it, he explains the essential virtues that reflect true “faith” (iman) through related Qur’anic verses and Prophetic sayings.” i.e. a nice summary of the Koran and Islamic beliefs. “1. Belief in Allah”aka as God, Yahweh, Zeus, Jehovah, Mother Nature, etc.” should be added to your cleansing neurons.”2. To believe that everything other than Allah was non-existent. Thereafter, Allah Most High created these things and subsequently they came into existence.”Evolution and the Big Bang or the “Gib Gnab” (when the universe starts to recycle) are more plausible and the “akas” for Allah should be included if you continue to be a “creationist”.”3. To believe in the existence of angels.”No “pretty/ugly wingy thingies” ever visited or talked to Mohammed, Jesus, Mary or Joseph or Joe Smith. Today we would classify angels as fairies and “tinker bells”. Modern devils are classified as the demons of the demented.Another major item to delete. There are no books written in the spirit state of Heaven (if there is one) just as there are no angels/”pwtfft”s to write/publish/distribute them. The Koran, OT, NT etc. are simply books written by humans for humans. Prophets were invented by ancient scribes typically to keep the uneducated masses in line. Today we call them fortune tellers.Prophecies are also invalidated by the natural/God/Allah gifts of Free Will and Future.”5. To believe that all the prophets are true. However, we are commanded to follow the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) alone.”Mohammed spent thirty days fasting in a hot cave before his first contact with Allah aka God etc. via a “pretty wingy thingy”. Common sense demands a neuron deletion of #5. #5 is also the major source of Islamic violence i.e. turning Mohammed’s “fast, hunger-driven” hallucinations into horrible reality for unbelievers.

  • rmoore2

    Mr. Patel, I thank you for your article, but your characterization of Rick Warren does risk a significant misrepresentation of his “worldview.” It would be much clearer to describe his approach in the following way: With regards to theology, Warren firmly believes and teaches that faith in Jesus Christ is the only means by which anyone can receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life in a personal relationship with God. With regards to social problems and human suffering, Warren believes that Christians can and should join hands with people and established institutions of all faiths for the sake of providing a significant amount of relief. Although you commented that Warren used the “language of a religious pluralist”, you must know that he is nothing of the kind. He simply does not adhere to the non-biblical notion that having friendships and social activist relationships with non-Christians is tatamount to the approval of their religious beliefs or worldviews. If you are encouraged that an increasing number of evangelical Christians share Pastor Warren’s perspective on social activism, then I share that sentiment. If you are implying that “evangelical” Christians are increasingly holding to a pluralistic view of theology and soteriology, then you may indeed be right, but you should be careful not to attribute such a position to Rick Warren and others like myself. In fact, it would be a little silly to call someone with a pluralistic perspective of religion an “evangelical” Christian, wouldn’t it? Blessings to you!

  • rmoore2

    Just a quick correction for LETTIE1: I like your old school perspective of doing good deeds “in secret” so as to not draw attention to yourself! However, you need to go back and check your reference to the Bible. Jesus never prohibited doing any good deeds in public (which would be a little silly, if you think about it). The “acts of righteousness” that he prohibited from doing “before men, to be seen by them” refers to giving offerings for the needy or praying “while standing in the synagogue or on street corners.” (Matthew 6:1-6) You might note that Peter, Paul, Stephen and other Christians did indeed use street “preaching” in their ministries, especially because it was a common practice for religious leaders and philosophers of their day.

  • Irischermann

    Farnaz,I read the article and all of the comments. I feel compelled to challenge you on some things.”Conversion is the price tag Christianity attaches to much of its help abroad.”No. This is a baseless, biased generalization and you know it. No Christian group or church who offers aid or relief to those who need it in foreign nations is going to require conversion before assistance is rendered. Besides, you, being a so-called intellectual, should know evangelism is a core part of Christianity. It’s what Christians are called to do. Condemning them for evangelizing is foolish. It would be like condemning American politicians for campaigning, even though they’re supposed to do it. Again, it’s foolish.Think of it in a different way: Foreigners are forever critical of U.S. aid. They believe any attempt we make to offer aid or assistance abroad (during a war, after a natural disaster, etc) we would just be using “help” as a guise for American Imperialism. Critics and naysayers in this country agree with this notion, of course. I, however, do not agree. It’s all too easy to cynically condemn a group’s noble efforts when it’s associated with government or church. Despite what you and others feel, Conquer and Convert is not the American way or the Christian way.”I would very much like to see tax exempt status for religious institutions ended forthwith.”Why? Because they don’t deserve it? Because it shows some kind of favoritism or support by our government? Are you regurgitating the ol’ “separation of Church and State” thing? Or are you simply looking for any number of ways to snub churches in general? Perhaps you wish to take away the celebration of Christmas too. “Whatever faith-based nonsense remains to be challenged in the Supreme Court, I hope to see there ASAP.”So, anything faith-based is “nonsense.” This implicitly shows your true feelings on faith, God, religion et al. It’s all nonsense to you. Well, you’re certainly entitled to your opinion but I need to ask you two favors. Please be more honest with your hatred of God and his believers and don’t ever claim to be a Humanist. Your rhetoric and jargon smacks of the absence of intelligence and reason, not the presence of it. To claim you’re a Humanist would be an insult to those who actually are as well as the very definition of the word itself. Humanists don’t believe in God like others do, of course, but they seek truth, not pervert it. Too many God-haters like you tout Humanist beliefs but still busy themselves with intellectual posturing and sanctimonious atheist jargon.

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz:I have spent a decade working in Africa and the Middle East while working in the telecom industry. I probably have more direct, recent familiarity with these institutions than you do (though I could certainly be wrong, it seems unlikely, given the tone of your reports). Dredging up “why, back in my Daddy’s day, we used religion as…” has very little relevance, as the world has changed significantly since the bad old days of colonialism (though not necessarily for the better).As the risk of boring you, I will repeat an obvious truth: In situations where local religious groups are part of the problem (and this is often true), then this method is unlikely to be effective. But in many communities that I ended up traveling through or working in, faith communities tended to help rather than exacerbate the situation. You continue to talk about how assistance using your personal world view is bound to be better. We all say that – the question is, are you willing to work with other altruistic folks who have different belief systems? Rick Warren says, “Of course”, your response seems to be “no help is better than ones that I personally don’t approve of”.

  • IpiTombi

    One seriously has to wonder about what motivates these charlatans given their political history for the past 25 years. Anti-gay-ism, abortion, school prayer are no longer resonating with the financially strapped public. Thus, to remain relevant, they have to try the next best thing. Perhaps, if they give up their ostentious living and cease ripping off 10% from the religious poor and middle-class, they would have done enough.

  • Farnaz2

    Have you actually been to any of these places where you feel that colonialism is still strong, and somehow supported by the religious establishment?Does having been born and raised in Iran count for having been there? As for the other countries, yes. Have you been to those you list?Why do I think not. Conversion of the Dalit in India is not osmotic. It is active and aggressive. I should add that for a variety of sociopolitical reasons that I suspect would be difficult to communicate, this conversion activity is a very good thing. It enables the Dalit to enter a class that would otherwise be difficult for them to get into. They will, of course, always be Dalit, always recognizably so, but better off.Try it en masse. If you know anything about India, you should be able to predict the problems without assistance from me. Some Hindus would like to see the permanent end of caste. Some not.Colonialism, at present, is more subtle than it was thirty years ago. Hence the term Neocolonoialism. The Raj, as it were, is still there in coups, exploitive loans, business contracts, one-way tariffs, WB orders that end in starvation and famine. In the meantime, conversion and anthroplogy are present, but also in a quieter way.Truthfully, there is nothing very complex in what I’m saying. For the most part religion supports ideology. There are, of course, times when it does not. Think for example of liberation theologians in South America. Do you recall Oscar Romero? Truthfully, I don’t want to reminisce. My father was a few miles from where he was murdered, learned of it shortly thereafter.Honestly, I don’t know what we’re arguing about.

  • Farnaz2

    Hello Spiderman,I’ve missed you. How are you, my friend?Farnaz

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:”Congo in the 50s”Good grief, my friend. You truly don’t mean to suggest that the Belgians operated in complete isolation. Say it ain’t so. Also, what I’m talking about never took the form of active conspiracy, certainly not where missionaries and educators were concerned. It has always been far more subtle than that. One could say with some certainty that there were those among them who became victims.Anyway, I suspect we do have in common the desire to see an end to the needless misery we see around us. One obvious place in which religious institutions could play a role is on American Indian Reservations. The RC church is a presence there anyway. At present the average income is under 6,000 dollars per annum. The American Indians are often described as among the poorest of developing nations. They need food, doctors who live on the Rez, clinics, housing, counseling of every sort, jobs. They need their lands restored to them, treaty obligations met, etc.Why not start there? Here, that is.

  • CCNL

    From the Concerned Christian now Liberated:Eboo, Eboo, Eboo, Once again-You noted: “That is American religion at its best.”Until the koran is corrected, please do not include Islam as part of the American religious scene. Once again the reality of Islam:Mohammed was an illiterate, womanizing, lust and greed-driven, warmongering, hallucinating Arab, who also had embellishing/hallucinating/ plagiarizing scribal biographers who not only added “angels” and flying chariots to the koran but also a militaristic agenda to support the plundering and looting of the lands of non-believers. This agenda continues as shown by the assassination of Bhutto, the conduct of the seven Muslim doctors in the UK, the 9/11 terrorists, the 24/7 Sunni suicide/roadside/market/mosque bombers, the 24/7 Shiite suicide/roadside/market/ mosque bombers, the Islamic bombers of the trains in the UK and Spain, the Bali crazies, the Kenya crazies, the Pakistani “koranics”, the Palestine suicide bombers/rocketeers, the Lebanese nutcases, the Taliban nut jobs, and the Filipino “koranics”.And who funds this muck and stench of terror? The warmongering, Islamic, Shiite terror and torture theocracy of Iran aka the Third Axis of Evil and also the Sunni “Wannabees” of Saudi Arabia.Current crises:The Sunni-Shiite blood feud and the warmongering, womanizing (11 wives), hallucinating founder.

  • abhab

    Usama explains; Go preach your above doctrine to all those whose ancestors were enslaved and see how far that will resonate with them.

  • spidermean2

    Hello Farnaz,Im fine. Thanks.

  • ASTORIA

    Farnaz- Still decrying the efforts of christian charity I see- “Anyway, I suspect we do have in common the desire to see an end to the needless misery we see around us. One obvious place in which religious institutions could play a role is on American Indian Reservations.” I am truly starting to suspect that you got off the plane and rolled into a condo in a fat neighborhood, and haven’t left. Having a ‘desire to see’ and end to misery is worse than doing nothing. What have YOU done for native-americans? Are you really this clueless? I have never heard any nativce american anywhere refer to it as ‘rez’.

  • Farnaz2

    Dear Spiderman,Here is a poem for you. It was written by the great eleventh-century Jewish poet, Yehuda Halevi. WHO IS LIKE THEEWho is like Thee, revealing the deeps, Fearful in praises, doing wonders?The Creator who discovereth all from nothing, Is revealed to the heart, but not to the eye;Therefore ask not how nor where—For He filleth heaven and earth.Thou wilt find thy God within thy bosom, Walking gently in thine heart— He that bringeth low and that lifteth up. Search it out and refresh thee.He will make thee wise, and thou wilt find freedom,For thou art a captive and the world is a prison. Make knowledge the envoy between thyself and Him;Annul thy will and do His will;And know that wheresoever thou hidest thee, there is His eye,And nothing is too hard for Him. He was the Living while there was yet no dust of the world;And He is the Maker and He the Bearer;And man is counted as a fading flower—Soon to fade, as fadeth a leaf.

  • ASTORIA

    I suspect your entire experience is stopping off at a ‘trading post’ and buying some turquoise jewelry to ‘support the local tradecraft. Guess what, you can buy that same jewelry fromthe same catalogues that the seller bought them from. No, you won’t find any doctors living on the rez.

  • Farnaz2

    Astoria/Victoria,Many, many Native Americans,none of whom call themselves Native Americans, btw, refer to the Reservation as the Rez. I taught on a reservation in North Dakota, and that is all I’ll ever say about that. If I had a fat check, I’d certainly write it. I’ve never lived in a Condo.Victoria, I can’t correspond with you anymore. This hostility is senseless. Anon is one matter, but you are another. I’m sorry.

  • Farnaz2

    Dear Spiderman,This, too, is by Judah Halevi. All through the centuries, from the exile on, they wrote of Zion and Jerusalem. It is faith, not reason, I don’t think.JerusalemBeautiful heights, city of a great King,From the western coast my desire burns towards thee.Pity and tenderness burst in me, rememberingThy former glories, thy temple now broken stones.I wish I could fly to thee on the wings of an eagleAnd mingle my tears with thy dust.I have sought thee, love, though the King is not thereAnd instead of Gilead’s balm, snakes and scorpions.Let me fall on thy broken stones and tenderly kiss them—The taste of thy dust will be sweeter than honey to me.

  • ASTORIA

    Maybe you did teach Native Americans Farnaz- but clearly you were so removed from the every day lives of people- that their concerns and issues didn’t touch your own worldview or even american view on poverty and the government’s role in it-

  • ASTORIA

    Farnaz- I simply don’t believe you. If you had really spent any time on reservations- you would realize that one must have the sensitvity to call people by what they wish to be known as. Take it from a walking tree- you have failed the sniff test.

  • ASTORIA

    Farnaz- you have been dengirating and sneering at christian missionaires and making all sorts of unkind assertions about their motives- I have talked many times about my experiences with the Pomos- even CCNL doesn’t bother to make fun of it-

  • iamweaver

    Farnaz – I doubt that you will end up reading this, but are you seriously suggesting that Nigeria still holds vestiges of colonialism?Nigeria, rocked with Neomuslim strife (proof of the potential virulence of religion, for sure, but not colonialism), with an economy centered around Lagos? (I am assuming you have been to Lagos – probably the one city in the world that I never really wish to experience again) Any first-world country (to say nothing of Britain in particular) has only as much influence there as the cash they can wave around; and even then, it’s a minimal influence. Even those giants of capitalism, the oil companies, are hard-pressed to get a real foothold there. That’s probably the worst example that I can think of (next to Ghana) for a claim that colonialism (economic or political) is still strong.

  • ASTORIA

    Farnaz- And then you offer as your own personal experience- the most dismal failure of the government to respond to poverty- the native americans- It really is inconceivable that one could live among some of the most poverty stricken people in this land- and still think that the government is taking care of the poorest people- anyone- anywhere-

  • Farnaz2

    FriendEnemy:Does he talk kindly of people of no faith? What does he admire about non-believers?We must all be partners in the plan to make earth more humane and just.If there is exclusion of any group, then this is not in the spirit of your mission, Eboo.Come on up for the rising…Exclusion or exclusivity will always be, I think, a problem with these kinds of initiatives. They can go on at some local levels and be successful. One life gained is worth a great, great deal. However, as you say, not everyone is in a community of the faithful. There are areas with endless ethnic, religious, and political strife. The three are frequently intermingled.This is why I think our best global, long-range hope is probably nonsectarian.Farnaz

  • abhab

    Usama defends his prophet’s abolition of adoption thus:Below is the true explanation for that abolition.Mohammad inherited a freed Syrian slave from his first wife Khadija by the name of Zayd the son of Haritha and who after adoption was renamed Zayd the son of Mohammad.

  • Farnaz2

    Astoria/VictoriaThe Indians I taught lived in unimaginable conditions. I’m not going to sacrifice their suffering to your deep insecurity. You continually misinterpret me, for example suggesting that I ever said “the government takes care of” anyone. While this could simply be due to reading deficiency, excessive subjectivity, I suspect the problems lie elsewhere.One, of course, is bigotry. That has been made obvious again and again, but the larger problem is insecurity and jealousy where I am concerned. I can’t for the life of me figure out why you or anyone else would continually be so threatened by me, but you have demonstrated your fears again and again. You say I “annoy” you. You don’t annoy me. I’ve read Janet’s correspondence with you, which I’m not going to paste here, and I thank her. She was kind. As for you, I feel sorry for you. I would be sorry for anyone who felt so threatened by another, particularly yours truly, who is surely not worth so much worry.Good luck to you. If you can get a handle on your own worth you will, I think be happier. Good luck!

  • Farnaz2

    iamweaver:Nigeria is interesting. As you know, it is the fourth largest oil producer. We get a significant amount of our oil from there. Of course, military rule, corruption, faulty infrastructure, etc. devastated it, but it is recovering. But we cannot forget debt, which forever plagues these nations as loans continue with interest rates that cannot be met. Nigeria got out of hers with the Paris Group awhile back if I recall correctly, but should never have gotten in, and was badly hindered by it. Corruption is being addressed successfully. Still, international market demands, economic pressures exert profound influence on Nigeria, which continue to contribute to its dismal infrastructure. With the cultural legacy of colonialism, political, economic, and cultural neocolonialism, ethnic/religious strife, wouldn’t nonsectarian relief, locally delivered, with oversight work better?Think of the Madrasssahs in Pakistan, which only loomed into public conscientiousness after 9/11, although Pakistanis had been waving a red flag for a long time. Remember Zia? Remember Saudi Arabia? The US? Parents who send there children to these schools generally have no idea of what will happen to them there. Education for the poor is a dream. Madrassahs promise education. There is an always will be a danger with administering aid through religious institutions. As I mentioned earlier, the Catholic Church has done well in India and Pakistan. In both countries (I’m not referencing the Dalit, now), it has run schools without attempting to convert anyone. Unfortunately, the cost of these schools is prohibitive for most. If one could get relgious institutions to provide services, native religious institutions or other, on a nonsectarian basis that would be wonderful. How could that possibly happen though in countries where there is as much ethnic strife as has been in Nigeria? Was?

  • Farnaz2

    Astoria/VictoriaBtw., anyone who ever worked with American Indians (a phrase, btw., used to distinguish this group from Asian Indians–that tells nothing about one who utters the phrase, except that she’s aware of speech community constraints) would know that those living on a reservation often refer to it as the “rez.” Anyone, Victoria….I think you know that you will be happier and healthier if you stop measuring yourself against, competing with others, particularly people you don’t know. That’s my humble opinion anway. It’s only that when people stop that sort of thing that they can see and appreciate the good things in themselves.Again, I wish you well.

  • kinghaz

    Pope Benedict XVI will kick off a week-long reading of the Bible on Italian television starting Sunday, with readers to include three former presidents and Oscar-winning actor Roberto Benigni. And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? what shall I say unto them?“Then said the Lord unto me,”“And I WILL APPOINT OVER THEM FOUR KINDS, saith the Lord”“Daniel spake and said, I saw in my vision by night”“came THE LIKENESS OF FOUR LIVING CREATURES.”“THESE TWELVE JESUS SENT FORTH”PHARAOH “the sword to slay”And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people: and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time: and at that time thy people shall be delivered, every one that shall be found written in the book.Lord, even THE DEVILS ARE SUBJECT UNTO US THROUGH THY NAME.BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and THEY SEE HIS SHAME.Then were THERE TWO THIEVES CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, one on the right hand, and another on the left.But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.Saying, DID NOT WE STRAITLY COMMAND YOU THAT YE SHOULD NOT TEACH IN THIS NAME? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.Being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day.If then ye have judgments of things pertaining to this life, set them to judge who are least esteemed in the church.Whose end is destruction, WHOSE GOD IS THEIR BELLY, and WHOSE GLORY IS IN THEIR SHAME, who mind earthly thingsWherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,Lord, even THE DEVILS ARE SUBJECT UNTO US THROUGH THY NAME.BEHOLD, I COME AS A THIEF. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and THEY SEE HIS SHAME.Then were THERE TWO THIEVES CRUCIFIED WITH HIM, one on the right hand, and another on the left.For the SON OF MAN IS LORD even of the sabbath day.But when he saw Jesus afar off, he ran and worshipped him,SO THE DEVILS BESOUGHT HIM, saying, If thou cast us out, SUFFER US TO GO AWAY INTO THE HERD OF SWINE.And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, LEGION: BECAUSE MANY DEVILS WERE ENTERED INTO HIM.And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to MARY MAGDALENE, OUT OF WHOM HE HAD CAST SEVEN DEVILS.Will God hear his cry when trouble cometh upon him?These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,“the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created”I AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDINGI AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE ENDI AM ALPHA AND OMEGA, THE BEGINNING AND THE END, THE FIRST AND THE LAST.I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians

  • spidermean2

    Farnaz, that was a very wonderful poem. Thanks.

  • spidermean2

    kinghaz, don’t waste your time. Catholicism is the Devil’s church. The Vatican is the seat of Satan.Believe me, the Vatican will burn soon. Catholicism has been subjugating countries for centuries. Those countries only earned their freedom thru revolt.