Hi all, 

Here is a link that was reported on the Arizona Republic’s website:   Brit Hume of Fox News to Tiger Woods: ‘Turn to Christian faith’.  It goes on to say that Brit Hume of Fox News stating that Tiger Woods should turn to Jesus from Tiger’s current religion of Buddhism.  We know that what Christians and Jews believe that everything happens divinely and happens in our afterlife as a consequence.  While Buddhists believe that everyone suffers and leading an ethical life lessens the suffering.  Here is a classic example with the problem in America about religion, that just because we can have our own religion and we have mostly Christians in our country (regardless of the denomination), that every American should believe in Christianity and Jesus.  I will explain the problems with religion in the sense of respecting others for their beliefs, how it should be involved with politics/government, and if religion should be forced on people followed by my views at the end.  I will use information from the above article as a reference from the Arizona Republic about Tiger Woods and Brit Hume. 

Our country, that we love so dearly, was, im some senses, built into our constitution/ declaration of independence with specific lines such as “we are endowed by are creator” and etc.  I understand that plus that we live in a country with is primarily Christian and that there are numberous also being practiced within the USA.  With that in mind, I understand that everyone has the right, in America, to believe (or not believe) what ever they want religiously and spiritually.  The first general problem on one side is that, being a Christian nation and having many Christians, is that one of the things that Christians do is to try to guide others into believing Jesus and “into the light”.  I respect that as being apart of their religion (which ever denomination).  The problem is that, despite acceptance/tolerance of the person or group, it does show disrespect to other religions.  I can understand that it is marvaled when someone to convert to another religion, out of their choice and own will.  It shows disrespect in the sense that when you say, “I accept your religion, but you should join us because/for…” you are showing you do not know the other person’s religion and completely disrespecting a person and another religion (even if it may not be intended).  In Christianity and Buddhism, although they both disagree with when punishment for mortal is (Christianity in the after life by divine intervention and in Buddhism in mortal life by karma).  They both believe in sin, forgiveness, that drinking and adultery (as an example) are sins, etc.  But when Brit Hume says that Christianity is the only way to redeem yourself and implying that Buddhism or any other religion is inadequate in that situation of forgiveness and redemption, it shows me that he does not tolerate or accept other religions.  It shows me that it is Christianity or the highway and that it is not good enough.  I do agree that he needs to learn how to accept others in the sense of having their own spirituality (whether your theistic, atheistic, or agnostic).  Continuing on this issue, if your atheistic you are good in my book.  I find it disrespectful of others to judge a person by if they are agnostic (unsure of gods existence) and atheists.  Some people see no proof either way and stay agnostic and others are so convinced by science or for other reasons so not believe in god.  They should not be condoned or discarded from anywhere just because of what they believe.  It is a problem that it is an expectation to believe in god(s) that the alternative is wrong.  It is equally wrong as forcing someone to believe in Christianity. 

The next point that I would like to touch on is more broad is how religion should be involved with the politics/government in America.  First thing I would like to say that is that many of those in government, not all, are Christians.  But the contstitution of the United States says not.  It says that we have the “freedom of religion.” Thomas Jefferson claimed that although he did not use the “seperation of church and state” wording, that is what he intended by it.  On that note, the “freedom of religion” means that you may have your religion, religious cultures, rituals, etc. , the government will be uninvolved in terms of the spiritual world.  The problem here is tha the government is endorsing religion.  How so?  On our money and in court, we see “In God We Trust” everywhere.  The court system endorse 12 step programs, where you have to turn to “a higher power and turn your life over to that power.”  There is recognition of Judeo and Christian holidays and not other religions.  You once had to say “so help you god” while being sworn the other to tell the truth in court if you are a witness.  The list goes on and on. 

The next issue with religion in America, is the topic of forcing religion on others.  Let me tell you a story of that I witnessed, starting my sophomore year, I started noticing religious preachers (different ones each time) coming on Arizona State’s Tempe campus to preach Christianity.  I saw them once that year and many times my Junior and Senior years.  They would go on and on, “if you do x, y, or z, you’re going to hell.”  In other words, anything beyond extreme literal and old school style to the point where they distort the religion in such a horrendous, horrifying, and terrible way.  The problem being that no mainstream Christians believe what they believe or take it that literally or seriously to that extreme.  It is a scare tactic that they want people to join not only Christianity, but their sick version.  They even admit in a round about way that they are not going to heaven.  They claim, “we know and follow the right path to heaven, but we are not going to heaven, so follow us.”  Why would anyone follow someone to eternal damnation?  Does anyone see the wickedness of their ways. 

Here’s my view-point of the topic of religion in America (although some of my bias is shown above): 

Topic 1 (Tolerance and Acceptance):  I feel that whatever religion you believe or do not believe in spiritually, that is OK in my book.  The way I see it, what ever religion you are (theistic, atheistic, or agnostic) we all agree on the same morals, behaviors, and we all generally want the best and have some basic sense of right and wrong.  We all believe that we should not take without buying, murder is wrong, marry more than one partner, etc.  Why do we need to believe in god to reinforce our social norms when we all generally agree on the same thing?  You can do what you want, but I ask is that you not only tolerate, but accept our different differences spiritually.  I feel that what Brit Hume did was wrong giving Tiger that advice he gave. 

Topic 2 (religion in government/politics):  No religion in politics and government since it has done so badly in the past like the crusades when wars and bloodshed are done in the name of god.  If religion is all good (any religion) why does religion have so much blood on its hand?  I think that “in god we trust” and such should be removed from the courts and money.  It should stay out of the government/ public sphere such as the courts, public schooling (exception as electives), either no or all religious holidays should be observed.  If in the private sphere, home, private schools or private enterprises, that is fine since it personally run not publically by the government. 

Topic 3 (religion being forced on others):  Do not do it period.  reasonable and rational discussion is ok and if someone converts, fine, but do not be one of those preachers that stopped by ASU’s campus. 

I want to take a moment to say this:  I am a huge fan of Fox News.  I want to make my position crystal clear about Brit Hume.  He has every right to believe what he believes and can give advice on that kind if desired.  I do not agree with what he said especially being in that forum of being an objective news journalists.  In other words, his priority is to report the news and not give religious advice.  If anything, this is a private matter, not a public one.  You can recommend others on certain things and I do think he ment well, but that was not the time or the place to discuss or recommend someone on what they should believe, with all due respect to Brit Hume. 

On another brief note, I do want to say that I feel that the world knows how Christianity feels about forgiveness and Jesus.  But the flip side is this:  Why do Christians go out and figure out how other religions feel about forgiveness?  There are other ways to forgive other than Jesus…isn’t there? 

Steve

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