Draw Muhummad Day

So today is "Draw Muhammad Day," and I'm saddened that this trend has taken off with such fervor. More importantly, it is disappointing how few people can see through this. This is not an exercise of speech but one of hatred. Those who deny that this is meant to disrespect Muslims are simply naive. If Muslims in turn burned the US flag to demonstrate their power of free speech, we can be certain that the people who are participating in this would feel threatened and would clearly see it as a proclamation of abhorrence to Americans. Likewise, by drawing their prophet in humiliating ways, Americans are announcing their animosity for Muslims and Islam. Americans are demonstrating their lack of tolerance for those who do not adhere to its definition of what is normal and acceptable. It is another declaration of the message "assimilate or else."

An example of this sentiment comes from Mark Steyn who expresses his fear of a West taken over by Muslims. Of course, a predominately Muslim country could have only the worst possible outcome.

Religion has many detrimental effects on societies period, but I do not see the growth of Islam in the West as an affront to my freedom. Steyn seems to forget that religion isn't stagnant but grows and evolves. Culture does not conform to religion, but religion to the culture. It is like water that takes the form of the glass it is in. In addition, Islamic countries around the world are being influenced by the West, and Islam most certainly will change as it enters Western nations.

Arizona is at it again...

Governor Jan Bewer is turning her guns ethnic study programs this time. According to Arizon's school chief Tom Horne, programs that teach Mexican-American students about their history "teaches Latino students that they are oppressed by white people." Bewer's spokesperson expressed similar sentiment, "The governor believes ... public school students should be taught to treat and value each other as individuals and not be taught to resent or hate other races or classes of people."

The best way I can express my reaction to yet another Arizona failure

But you know, what I really despise about this (besides the obvious bigotry that spawned this of course) is faulty reasoning behind it. The statements of these officials reflect a common sentiment among Americans: any gain of minorities is an affront to European-Americans. The looming prospect of an equal playing field makes many feel victimized. European-American students can enjoy an entire school system that revolves around them, but as we begin to extend this privilege to students of all races, they cry that they are under attack. I wish America would learn that when minorities advance in this system and work to make a better life for ourselves, it is not to the detriment of European-Americans. On the contrary, equality may eliminate white privilege, but ultimately everyone benefits. As Sean Arce noted in the article, "students perform better in school if they see in the curriculum people who look like them." If ethnic studies encourage minority students do work harder in school, which in turn results in a more educated population, then we should promote the programs rather than restricting on them; however, they cannot see that all of America will profit from furthering the interest of minorities.

There was a portion of this article that did make me laugh. A Republican running for attorney general has been attacking ethnic studies since he heard Dolores Huerta, a Hispanic civil right's activist, tell students in 2006 "Republicans hate Latinos." Way to prove her right! Republicans have always struggled with the racist connotations that are attached to their party, but in recent days it seems that they are really trying to fuel that fire. If they keep it up, they will alienate their rational supporters and will be identified with extremist.

The Prosperity Gospel: We've been suckered

It's distressing how many African-Americans have become the victim of the "Prosperity Gospel." Far too many of the naive and the poor believe that if they throw their money to some self-proclaimed prophet of God, they will get 10 to a 100 fold more. If they just plant a seed, God will open the windows of heaven and throw cash their way. How these people got this from Jesus who told the rich-young-ruler to give up his riches and follow him, store your riches in heaven, and praised the poor widow who gave everything away, I am not sure. Jesus, Paul, and any of his disciples lived the life of vagabonds, yet God's greatest concern is to lavish us with riches. These prosperity teachers do not even remotely resemble the founders of Christianity. However, African-Americans fail to see this and continue to chant the mantra that If they sow their financial seed, they will reap their harvest, as songs like "Faithful is Our God" and "Blessing of Abraham" show. I wish these people could understand that when they give their income to these "preachers," they aren't sowing their seed, they are buying a these people's jets. Why can't they open their eyes and see that their harvest has never come? You've given $500 bucks away, and not only have you not gotten $5,000, but you're still in the same debt as you used to be. African-American Christians need to understand there are no easy solutions or short cuts in this life. God is not a genie, nor is he your good-luck charm. Yet so many people delude themselves thinking that they can make bad decisions, listen to these prosperity sermons, and magically "God will provide." Your mess or success has nothing to do with God, but your own hard work (or lack of it) and decisions. It's time for many African-Americans to take that responsibility and stop looking into the clouds.

If you or someone you know believes in prosperity teaching, I would recommend reading Charismatic Chaos (John F. MacArthur) or A Different Gospel: Biblical and Historical Insights into the Word of Faith Movement (Dan R. Mcconnell).

A Christian was talking about Genesis 1. To shorten his overall point, he was saying that if humanity didn't believe Genesis we would be doomed. (His thesis basically was, if man was not made in the image of God, man would have no value. You could just kill someone like a bug because he would be the product of random chance instead of design. Christians freak me out with sort of thinking, but I digress.) In any case, I asked him if he could explain why God creates light, night, and day all before he creates any stars. After rambling on, he could not, and told me I could research this answer myself as it has been debated for a long time. However, I find it curious that Christians think that there is an answer at all. Even when faced with a problem that is as illogical as this, they still believe that there must be some, any explanation, just because it says so in the Bible. They ignore the fact that you can make up an explanation for anything! If the Bible had the following verse: "And God created the world as flat as unleavened bread," I could defend it by saying that the Bible didn't really mean the earth itself was flat. It was referring to the illusion made by the horizon line. Christians would accept this as true because it's the word of God, therefore, any and everything is justifiable. Genocide is justifiable. Slavery is justifiable. Talking donkeys and snakes are completely realistic. Likewise, it makes just as much since to believe that the day and the night are completley logical concepts without the sun. With the Bible, there is an answer to everything, we just haven't created it yet.

Dr. Lorne L. Dawson summarized this tendency of religions to deny the obvious in the study "When Prophecy Fails, Faith Persist"