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Posts Tagged ‘Fundamentalism’

The new pink Ouija board by HasbroTwo years ago the Hasbro Company released a pink version of the classic Ouija board, presumably to revitalize Ouija’s appeal and help it remain a slumber party mainstay. A recent story by Fox News seems to have catapulted this “pink portal to the other side” to the forefront of Christian and non-Christian consciousness alike.

The buzz seems to mostly consist of Christians condemning the product as a “dangerous spiritual game” and non-Christians responding with snark (some of which is pretty entertaining – see the “reviews” link below).

Some snippets of product reviews I found at amazon.com, followed by my take on it all:

I guess it’s an indictment of the level of science education in the U.S.A. Ouija board simply works on kids pushing the marker to the letters. –reviewer Joseph P. Klein
There is inherent in using the board the possibility of demonic contact and influence, since dead people cannot be contacted. The effects are real when it “works.” –reviewer Former Astrologer
Deuteronomy 18:10 states ‘There shall not be found among you anyone who…CALLS UP THE DEAD. For whoever does these things is detestable to the Lord.’ –reviewer common sense
Based on personal experience, the first two reviews contain little bits of truth (though overall they miss the mark). Here are my thoughts on Ouija:
Q: Who (or what) moves the Ouija board’s marker?
A: Kids trying to either scare or impress their friends.
A: A discarnate spirit on the astral plane. This could be someone who’s recently passed and has not yet progressed to the higher planes of existence, but is more likely an unevolved spiritual entity. Some may dub these beings “demons,” but it’s important to understand that the Abrahamic Religions have perverted the meaning of this word, which simply meant “unclean spirit” originally. However this is precisely why Ouija can be dangerous – in using it, those without the required knowledge or respect essentially make a “phone call” to a room full of strangers, any of whom could “pick up” and some of whom may have malicious intent.
Q: If I had a child, would I let them play with a Ouija board?
A: Generally speaking, no. Though the board itself does not cause harm, the fear surrounding its use might. This fear, now embedded in our society’s consciousness, is exactly what attracts the unevolved spiritual entities I described above (and keeps them around).
Q: What qualifies me to these questions, and why do I disagree with the reviews quoted above?
A: Personal experience. On several occasions friends and family members have spontaneously visited me after passing, often with messages for me or for me to relay to others. Contacting (or being contacted by) those who’ve passed is indeed possible, and I feel strongly that ruling this out simply because one hasn’t experienced it (or worse, judging someone without “walking a mile in their shoes“) is spiritually and emotionally immature. The universe is bigger than any of us can comprehend, and there is plenty that can’t be explained by either religious doctrine or empirical evidence.
I find it ironic that zealots on each side of any religion vs. science debate seem to share the same weakness – the conviction that everything in the universe can be neatly categorized as religion or science, belief or fact, black or white, good or evil. Though it might seem desirable to live in a world where everything is so cut and dry, it would rob us of the opportunity to experience the freedom that humility brings – that quality we embody when we admit there are more questions than answers.

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…for hastening the demise of mainstream evangelical Christianity.

As more Christians realize the extent of your arrogance, insensitivity, righteousness, and general asshattery, many will undoubtedly hasten to distance themselves from you and your rhetoric. If I were a Christian, I’d certainly be embarrassed to be associated with you.

[The earthquake in Haiti] may be a blessing in disguise.

Would you say the same if someone you love was there at the time of the quake, still missing and likely buried under rubble?

[The Haitians] made a pact with the devil, [and] have been cursed ever since.

You’re a jackass, Pat Robertson. You’re insulated by wealth and privilege and are completely out of touch with reality as a result.

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I admit I don’t pay as much attention to the news as I should, (it’s typically so depressing), so it came as a surprise when I learned via the 2009 Harper’s Magazine Yearly Review that in August of last year, a law was passed in Afghanistan allowing wives who refuse their husband’s sexual advances to be starved. No, we haven’t fallen into a time warp and landed in the middle ages. And yes…I said starved.

From an article I found at the U.K.’s Guardian:

The new final draft of the legislation also grants guardianship of children exclusively to their fathers and grandfathers, and requires women to get permission from their husbands to work. It also effectively allows a rapist to avoid prosecution by paying ‘blood money’ to a girl who was injured when he raped her.

Many things ran through my mind while I read this. One of the first things (and something I call on everyone reading this to consider) is my belief that the opinions and actions of the men who endorsed and passed the bill, the fundamentalist Shia leader Ayatollah Mohseni and Afghanistan’s president, do not represent the majority of those who follow the Islamic faith. (This is reasonable as only about 20% of the country’s population regards Mohseni as their spiritual leader.) These two (Mohseni especially) are conservative religious freak shows who have elevated themselves places of power and influence, similar to the Pat Robertsons, Dick Cheneys, and Anita Bryants of America’s past and present. What’s so unfortunate is how much harm the whims of two men are inflicting on Afghanistan’s 15 million+ women.

Does anyone know what the status of this law is today? Is it still in effect?

Other interesting and informative links:

Women’s Learning Partnership – Afghanistan

Total population of Afghanistan and population by gender (use filters to sort): NationMaster.com

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Many people speak of unconditional love but rarely live it. Instead, when they see a condition that causes them to feel negative emotions, they demand a change in the condition; but in doing so, they set themselves on a long and uncomfortable path of attempting to control others in order to feel good.

When controlling others is necessary in order for you to feel good, you must confine yourself to a very small world over which you can gain control, and then you must give more time and energy than you possess to this impossible effort.

–The Teachings of Abraham in the book The Astonishing Power of Emotions by Esther and Jerry Hicks

Neo-Conservatives/Christ-Cons may not be the only who “attempt to control others in order to feel good,” but they’ve certainly been the most visible. They’ve been losing the Culture Wars for decades by refusing to recognize the truth in the statements above. Until they replace their dogged determination to control with completely unconditional love, they will continue to experience anger, sorrow, and fear as they watch the world progress beyond their subjective views of morality.

Women will never lose the right to choose. State legislatures will continue to recognize equal rights for lesbians and gays. The world will never work exactly how the Neo-Cons think it should (thank God). When they accept these things and recognize that the doctrine they follow is just as fallible as they are, maybe then they’ll emerge from their “very small worlds” and turn their focus to living their own lives.

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Both the Christian and secular media worlds are ablaze as Jon Meacham’s article The End of Christian America makes its rounds.

From the blogosphere this morning:

Well, I thought of the wrath God must feel for those arrogant blasphemers who reject His law and I also thought about how righteous His judgement will be.

Shotgun Smith on his response to “some woman in Australia who thought that the death of Christianity was undoubtedly a good thing.”

The Decline and Fall of Christian AmericaEasy there, turbo. I’m guessing you didn’t read the entire article, as I suspect many of your Christian brethren won’t. To say the article is about the “death of Christianity” is incorrect and a bit pessimistic.

From page 36: “Let’s be clear: while the percentage of Christians may be shrinking, rumors of the death of Christianity are greatly exaggerated.”

The article actually discusses the decline of Christianity in our country and theorizes that this has occurred due to the lack of distinction between church and state.

While arguing that the influence of either too much secularism or too much religion creates imbalance in the political system, Meacham reminds the reader that “As crucial as religion has been and is to the life of the nation, America’s unifying force has never been a specific faith, but a commitment to freedom – not least freedom of conscience.” In simpler terms, our Founding Fathers neither envisioned nor intended to create America as a strictly Christian Nation, but rather as one in which each citizen had freedom and liberty.

I infer from this that the author sees a correlation between Christianity’s decline and how religious conservatives have long used politics to force their morals and values on the public. It’s easy to see why secular society, resenting attempts by Christian political leaders to forcibly remove Constitutional liberties (a woman’s right to choose, the right of same-sex couples to wed, the need for stem cell research funding, etc.) would want to distance itself from Christianity.

I also speculate that though they may never realize it, the Christ-Con’s sole saving grace is their failure to accomplish their over-arching aim: to rebuild the bulwark of 1950’s Christian America. Had they succeeded in stamping out all beliefs and practices that don’t coincide with their own, it wouldn’t be long before another group rose to power and did the same to them. And schadenfreude aside, that would be a bad for us all.

 

Oppression of anyone is oppression of everyone.
–Stevie Wonder

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The wise have long attested to the power of laughter to strengthen the spirit and dissolve negativity.

Have a look at these, then have a good laugh.

And the Christ-Cons wonder why:

The Decline and Fall of Christian America

 

Video source: YouTube via Blueollie

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Iowa is now the third state in the U.S. to affirm the basic human dignity of committed lesbian and gay couples by recognizing their right to marry. Iowa Supreme Court Justice Mark Cady deserves commendation at the highest level for recognizing and acting upon the need to strengthen the separation between church and state.

The beauty and sanctity of religion is diminished when it’s used to hurt people. Until they “get” this, evangelical Christians will continue to witness an exodus from their ranks and the crumbling of their antiquated institution.

How would Jesus feel about these signs? Would he agree they further his messages of love, charity, and forgiveness? I doubt it, somehow.

Source: The Des Moines Register

Anti-gay rights protestersAnti-gay protest sign

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