To make us think
Highlands TodayWhat if we recover the one purpose that religion, education and media ought to share? That purpose? To make us think and to think more clearly.
Published: September 16, 2010
Published: September 16, 2010
Life is a reality show, but reality shows are not life. Most are brain-sucking garbage. Watching the protestors for and against the mosque planned near Ground Zero, screaming their opinions, like so many other sign toting, rock throwing occasions, indicates mob mentality, or, reality show wanna-be's.
A trouble-making woman told evangelist John Wesley, "God has given me the talent of speaking my mind." Wesley snapped back: "God wouldn't mind if you buried that talent."
Many of us wouldn't mind if the media had not encouraged Pastor Terry Jones' "talents." However, defining his "smallness" by the number of his church members is faulty reasoning. On the other end of the spectrum is Glen Beck, a radio and talk show personality with thousands of followers. Neither small nor large numbers of people sharing the same views necessarily indicates logic.
Jones threatened the Quran; Beck waved the Bible and/or The Book of Mormon. Jones said, "God told me to do it"; Beck referred to his "divine destiny." Both claim to be Christian. Many segments of Christianity reject both. In a 9/8/10 article, The Tampa Tribune's Keith Morelli wrote that Jones' independent church "follows the Pentecostal tradition," going on to list several of that group's beliefs as if that accounts for Jones' behavior. These enflamed, loose, illogical connections are the same injustice moderate Moslems complain of when compared to radical Islam.
Jones planned his spectacle for 9/11; Beck's "Restoring Honor" rally fell (he says, "coincidentally") on the 47th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech. People on the real front lines question the motives of both. Despite Jones' imagining his cancellation of burning Qurans will influence New York City's proposed Islamic center, he only further stirred radical non-thinkers inside and outside his camp.
People will not search their own town for truth but will go anywhere, pay any amount to be in the presence of and buy the books of what is increasingly becoming the team of Beck and Palin. If we sway so far "right" or "left" as to offer unquestioning allegiance to anyone, we are not thinking. Henry Ford observed: "Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it."
Donald Trump offered the best advice so far, coupled with action, regarding the controversial mosque. He offered to buy out a major investor in the real estate partnership controlling the site near Ground Zero, suggesting Imam Rauf become a hero by backing away. What is Trump's religion? He belongs to the Collegiate Reformed Dutch Protestant Church. Let God judge but note that Trump put his money where his mouth is.
True religion produces thinkers. True education teaches how to find and use information. True media coverage shakes minds. Apostle Paul unabashedly evaluated the churches he established: "that I might know the proof of you" (2 Corinthians 2:9).
Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If you are a seeker of simple truth, we can find it together-side-by-side.
Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at lindadowning.com