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“The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by graf Leo Tolstoy – Free Ebook

If you’re a Christian and you have not read this book, you ought to do so.

Free kindle book and epub digitized and proofread by Project Gutenberg.

Source: “The Kingdom of God Is Within You” by graf Leo Tolstoy – Free Ebook

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Overview of America – YouTube

Another favorite video of mine…

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Islam and Racism

I can’t imagine anybody knowing me for very long, without coming to the understanding that I don’t believe in the concept of “race” as is it typically applied to humanity.

Put simply, I do not believe in different races among humans and therefor, do not believe in racism among them either.

There are a lot of folks out there who I’m sure look at people like me as “deniers.” To some folks, my refusal to accept race amongst humanity, makes me crazy or maybe delusional. To others, I’m sure I would be termed satanic or evil. Probably to others, I am simply stupid. I can live with all of that.

But let me now make my position clear. There are at least two things I’m trying to say:

  1. Though among humans, there are differences of culture, and among groups of humans, similarities and differences in physical attributes (and let’s face it, in things like medical prognoses as well), there is but one race—that being human. Put simply, whether your family is from Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas, Australia or elsewhere, you are a human. That means—to me at least—that we’re all part of the same big family.
  2. That people do things they ought not, and try to excuse their behavior by using “racial divisions” to do those things. If we’re all one race, the distinction cannot be one made as a result of the race of oneself or another. The point here, is not that folks are not doing things that others have chosen to deem or term racism, but that in allowing the term to be used, the folks doing wrong are strengthened. If the argument is (rightly) made, that race among humans does not exist, that’s one less thing for folks to hide behind. I’m by no means saying this will “cure” anything, to be clear, I’m convinced it won’t. What it will do though, is make some of the folks willing to support others using ideas like “purity of race,” at least pause for a moment, and consider their folly. They may not come to good or correct conclusions, but I flatly refuse to support their errant positions.

On this basis alone, I would expect folks to accept that at least I cannot support those speaking about folks attempting to deal with Islam as “racists” because they wish to apply “general fixes” in an attempt to deal with problems that—where they are not exclusive to Islam—run rampant in the belief set. If that’s not enough for you though, by all means, read on!

In my mind, it’s bad enough that either people group themselves together in such a way as to separate them from the rest of humanity on arbitrary distinctions, and even worse when others “do it to them.” And if that isn’t bad enough, they folks doing things of this sort, then mislabel folks.

As an example of this, when people refer to intolerance towards Muslims as “racial” anything, it shows their confusion about whom they speak. For just a second, let’s say I can agree with the idea of race where humanity is concerned (remember, this is an exercise, not reality). That would make it so Chinese or Germans would be people of different races, right?

But having come to that conclusion, now ask yourself the question(s), “Are there German and Chinese Muslims?” In case you’re wondering, the answer is, “Assuredly so!”

Here’s another consideration. Can somebody say, “I’m not of Hungarian extraction.” When it’s known they are? I would argue that such a statement was untrue.

On the other hand, can a person who is Muslim even by birth choose to “convert” to another belief set? Well, if you ask many Muslims, the answer is, “No.” Asking other people would result in a resounding, “Yes!”

The point here is simple, Islam is not a race (even if we could talk about races amongst humanity). As such, speaking about race when we speak about Islam is incorrect.

If this is yet not plain enough for you, let me make one more point.  When most folks think about Muslims, what countries come to mind? I would bet the majority of folks think about Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran or some other Middle Eastern country.

Funny thing is, the largest Muslim population in any country in the World is found in Indonesia (12.7% of the World’s Muslims)—and they’re followed by, Pakistan (11%), India (10.9%) and Bangladesh (9.2%) if Google is to be believed. Interestingly then, if I could support the idea or racism among humans, this would be a prime example. Because I can’t, it’s not. I think most people would agree that it is just confusion on many folks’ part.

This brings me to a final thought. I have recently heard folks comparing the suggestions of U.S. political figures on how to handle Islam’s issues, with Hitler’s “handling” of the Jews in and around World War II. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t find very many Jews familiar with what happened in Nazi Germany that would agree with such an idea.

To begin with, the Jews were not prone to make trouble or cause harm to their fellows who were not Jewish. Additionally, I’m pretty sure almost nobody would recommend “rounding up” Islamic folks and putting them in camps—Inside or outside the U.S.

Honestly though, one of the intents of the Founders of the U.S., was to make it so no one person possessed enough power to do such a thing. I know that many Japanese will argue that it happened anyway at places like Manzanar, and I’d be the last to disagree. That’s why we must remain ever vigilant. That does not mean we cannot expect folks to take any preemptive action when some group demonstrates a propensity toward a given improper perspective (or worse, set of actions). What it does mean, is that we must be careful just how much we do.

Funny thing is, I don’t even like the person making the suggestions all that well, but I like even less, people trying to bully him and others out of their positions when they’re not intending to be unreasonable in what they do.

Just my two cents.

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Why I (Generally) Quit Commenting on Facebook Posts

I was reminded again today, why I generally quit commenting on Facebook posts.

A Facebook “friend” posted something about which I felt I had something to say that would be of benefit to the original post.

I proceeded to comment on that post, with the idea that discourse could occur, and that—in the worst case—I might have to deal with some unpleasant comments made by other posters and might even change somebody’s mind in the process.

Instead, I found myself in a “conversation” with someone who:

  1. Could not begin to step out of his or her little world for long enough to examine and understand what I had said OR, that I had failed to say what I intended in such a way as to help him or her understand my position and
  2. Had no idea my circumstances, and therefor chose to interpret my unwillingness to continue to reply to comments as a personal challenge and a failure on my part due to inability to answer.

I did my best to bow out gracefully, but in the end, had to either delete my comments, or leave the situation looking like the other person had somehow “won” some argument he or she was trying to make. My interest was neither in “winning” anything nor in any way competing with the individual in question.

My responses were intended to clarify my position, but the responses returned to me, indicated that the person with whom I was “conversing” either willfully or unknowingly was unable to understand how what I was saying, answered his or her replies (in case you hadn’t figured it out, I’m using “him” and “her” to keep from divulging the sex of the individual in question).

In the end, I tried to bow out as gracefully as possible, deleting my posts and telling the person I was not able to continue participating in the “conversation.”

At this point, I was accused of not having any way to respond (when in my view, I had done so in prior replies) and told that I was a terrible human being, and denying them their opinion by deleting my comments.

The latter appears to have been a result of the fact that they were replying to what I had said. It appears that, when you delete a comment or reply to a comment, Facebook deletes all subsequent comments and replies.

In any case, this is a good example of one of the reasons I have ceased commenting to posts (or replying to comments, often) on Facebook.

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“They (We) worship the same god”

I went to visit my brother over the Thanksgiving break—a thing which is always interesting and instructional—and a conversation ensued about which I would like to write a bit here.

A small group was sitting around the dining room table, just talking, when the discussion turned to religion (something I know many consider a bad thing).

During that conversation, a member of the family (who is unimportant) made the observation (and I’m going to paraphrase here) that, “Christians, Jews and Muslims all worship the same god.”

Many take this as a reasonable posit, let me now explain why I do not.

This seems like a very deep and complicated issue, but actually, there are a couple of very simple answers to it.

  1. The first answer is simple, it comes in the form of a question, that question being, “Who is Jesus to you?” The most positive of Muslims (the ones who don’t tell you He was a malefactor) will say something like, “He was a prophet.” If asked how He relates to Mohammed, they will allow as how—where Jesus was important—Mohammed was a “latter prophet” and therefor what he said is more significant. I won’t even argue whether Mohammed was a prophet because it’s totally unnecessary. The Reason? If you ask a Christian (who really understands what he or she believes), he or she will tell you something like, “Jesus is God, come to Earth. He died for our sins and arose to the right hand of the Father, where He now sits reigning gloriously on High.” You may ask, “But the original question was as to whether Christians and Muslims worship the same god, how does this answer that?” It’s because to the Christian Jesus is God. The Muslim cannot say this in good faith.
  2. One thing so many people fail to recognize, is that when two texts exist that espouse different ideas and values—and most particularly when those texts are in conflict (at a fundamental level)—it’s pretty clear they cannot “get along.” That doesn’t mean they cannot tolerate each other, but it does mean they will not agree. This is the case with regard to the Bible and the Qu’ran. This matters because the very character of Allah is nothing like the character of God that is presented even in the Old Testament.

I could go crazy with other reasons and explanations, but frankly, this is enough.

I need not disparage anybody, suffice it to say, we disagree.

That’s my “two cents” on the matter. Thanks for taking the time to read this!