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Charles Shaughnessy iBlog # 9

So, this is what I think . . .

Charlie's latest iBlog on morality and ethics.  Watch the video then log in with your blogger or google account and tell him what YOU think!

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  1. Oh Charlie i think you hit the nail right on the head with this blog and your right we really need to have some kind of teaching in are school's about this stuff i just don't understand why we are so divided and all we seem to do is just make matter's worst.

  2. I think I get what you're saying Charlie.

    We need to make doing what is right more of a personal thing.

    The Bible is a great source of human behavior and the "reaping of what is sown" whether good or bad.

    King David said, "I am for peace but they are for war." This was a man that became a defender and uniter of two kingdoms. War seemed like it was his last choice.

    Sadly, some of the instigators of conflict were from his own family.

    In addition to ethics we need to know how to respond well to abrasive behavior in our own particular environment.

    Jesus is the greatest example to me. And I think it is great that the "Gospel" means to spread the good word of peace. Salutations in letters of apostles also have words like "May the God of peace..."

    Keep a cool head and a warm heart and when it comes to "uniting nations" don't be surprised if sometimes it requires a defensive reaction to those that "are for war".

  3. Charlie i have come to the conclusion that we are looking for a prefect leader in a noneperfect world it's kind of like the way women look at men on tv we all want our owne man to be like that and when there not we just hold on to that dream man we watch on tv but we don't realize he is not that perfect man we all want he is just and actor but we can't give him up because he is a simbole of perfiction that we all want and need i'm not just saying this because your and actor i'm saying that we are all just looking and wanting everthing to be perfect and it's not just going to happen i learn that the hard way when i lost my owne child i did everthing the doctor told me to do so i would have a heathy happy baby but it did not work i did every thing perfect i did not smoke i did not drink i watched how much weight i gain but thier wear thing's that no matter how hard i tryed to do the right thing just stood in my way and it did not matter so what i'm saying is let's stop looking for a perfect leader and just look for one who can try to help thing's are never going to be perfect and there is alway's going to be someone who will never like what is being none are said.

  4. hey, this is lauren. first, im wondering what spurred ur thinking. is it related to the wars, the republican debate, etc? Also, I am currently in a college class called Psych of Learning and we are talking right now about the motives of peoples' behaviors. Some of wat u were talking about (jealousy, fighting) can be attributed to the idea of Natural Selection...the qualities which allow humans to survive are what we keep. That is why there is the saying that some qualities are "part of human nature". Of course, there is a strong element of learning involved. We have experiences in our lives which cause us to behave in certain ways. Everyone has such varied experiences that I am not sure an international conference would work; not everyone is able to see the value in ethics,etc.

  5. SO AGREE with this blog! Thank you! Thank you! I too WISH we could incorporate into schools. We so need to embrace ethics else i fear for our future of humanity. Blowing each other up with nukes or holy war etc. Is very scary. We have enough going on with the planet right now to keep us busy. Never understood how some folks keeps saying you have to have a faith based morality to be GOOD or a good person. Which is not true. Is a conscious choice. And you are so right. Morals and ethics have to do with managing a civilization. If everyone is behaving badly, then how could we ever have a peaceful easy society? Is for the good of humanity to behave not just in the eyes of God to win a ticket into his kingdom. Anyone, i so agree with you. Humans have not changed much in thousands of years cept more civilized and great technological advances. We are smarter somewhat. lol Selfishness and self loathing is so in our nature. Yell fire in a crowded room, we stamped other humans just like buffaloes. Unless we change our ideas or ways we could lead to our own destruction and the suffering will be all OUR faults. We could destroy the planet and other life with us as well. How sad is that. If there is a God why would he happy with us? Killing each other, the planet, and other life forms. No offense but if i was in charge I'd send nearly everyone to hell and take the poor innocent creatures to heaven. Luckily i am not in charge. But question: why are we so selfish natured? I believe we are very much like the animal kingdom? Is all about survival of the fittest nearly same in humans with the exception of mercy and kindness. We are emotional, thank goodness. Perhaps where they kindness and mercy comes in to play. Great iblog! One of my fave topics. Kudos as always Charlie! Your boldness with your views & ideas are appreciated. Can we put this on the 11 o'clock news? No prime time. LOL

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  7. But Charles, there is a VERY fine line between morals and ethics. When you look in the dictionary under morals, the word ethics appears in its definition and vise versa. If you take away someone's morals, what you would have? A bunch of "robots" walking around programmed to think one way as a unit. It is human nature to perceive things differently. That is why we have laws - to keep people with extreme views from running amok.

    And I have to disagree with you that we have not learned anything over the years. Back in the times of the romans it was entertaining to see people killing one another in the arenas; the french do not use the guillotine anymore; we do not tolerate cruel and unusual punishment in America. Are those not examples of progress (though they might be a bit grizzly)?

    And we know there is really no such thing as a "holy war" unless you are an extremist. Jesus of Galilee would never have given his blessing to such a thing. Remember, it is not God but man who makes evil happen. It cannot be helped that those who are not educated have a backwards view of the Bible.

    And those traits you mentioned: greed, jealousy, envy, sins, etc. are all a part of human nature. I took psychology in college and we were taught that certain people are not immune from certain human behaviors.

    If you want to take away someone's morals, it sounds like you want to take away what is special and unique about them.

    I just believe your way of thinking sounds nice in theory, but there is nothing wrong with having morals as long as one doesn't use morals to provoke violence or hurt anyone else.

  8. I would love for someone who actually teaches ethics to the meantime, I can just try to wrap my mind around the irony of Charlie complaining about human behavior and scientific advances while recording a video on a phone.

    This iBlog on morality and ethics certainly gives me a lot to ponder (and will probably result in more than one comment). I keep thinking of your historical examples of empires that had issues with morality, and, while Bill Clinton did have some issues with sexual misconduct, he certainly never could be confused with Caligula (whose actions did not directly contribute to the fall of the Roman Empire, as its collapse happened over 350 years after he died). I don’t think the United States has gone down that road, and, if it has, perhaps it’s because of the development of a culture in which people are coddled and not held accountable for their actions.

    Now to the question of ethics. In this grand scheme, who will determine what is ethical? A dictionary definition of ethics states: “moral principles that govern a person's or group's behavior” or “the moral correctness of specified conduct” (among other definitions). Moral is defined as “concerned with the principles of right and wrong behavior and the goodness or badness of human character”—in other words, to be ethical you would ostensibly know the difference between right and wrong. But who determines what is right and wrong? On one level, it is society—we just know some things are not right. However, to pick up on a thread from the most recent blog, is someone unethical if they participate in an abortion, either as a physician or as a prospective mother? Would there be any circumstances in which abortion could be considered ethical? Or is an abortion something that would not be affected by ethics, even though there is considerable disagreement whether it’s right or wrong?

    Next, once society determines what is ethical, how do we enforce that standard? Some things are legislated; for instance, there is a penalty for being arrested and/or convicted of drinking and driving (or driving under the influence). I’m using that example because one of the moral reform movements in the mid-19th century was the temperance movement, which was designed to educate people about the evils of consuming alcohol (and was unofficially a movement that attacked the lifestyles of German and Irish immigrants). Does the simple act of drinking and driving make you an immoral person? Who is going to determine the penalty? Will it be people who are influenced by outside forces (for instance, lobbyists), or people who are familiar with the ramifications of violating the standards of morality? One thing that is certain is that how society defines morality (as compared to the dictionary definition) evolves over time; during the colonial period, people were jailed for fornication (just think how overcrowded jails would be if those laws were enforced today).

    A couple of final thoughts for Charlie: First, if you want people to complete an ethics class in school, shouldn’t we also make that a requirement before someone runs for public office? Throughout history (especially U.S. history), there have been significant problems with politicians having issues with ethical behavior, although all occupations certainly have had their instances of ethical misconduct. As a college faculty member, it is not considered ethical for me to have improper or inappropriate contact with a student, nor is it ethical for me to require students to buy books I write just to make money.

    Second, how can you rationalize your evident belief in the tenets of Christianity (based upon your exposition on the Nicene Creed) with your aversion to religion that you so eloquently explained in a previous blog? Or is your explanation merely a demonstration of knowledge, instead of a profession of faith?

  9. Karen and Lilly are right on the money again. Again the definition of ethics is moral philosophy. So moral and ethics seem to be interchangeable. My question Charles is one if we have no morals but only ethics who do we answer to for doing unethical acts? Do we answer to the government? It appears you are trying to remove God and Jesus from the way humanity is to behave. Your example of jealousy, coveting etc isn't that 4 or 5 of our ten commandments, which was established by God. Also you are wrong about not wanting our children to learn from the bible as Jesus stated we are to spread the word of the gospel. It is when we stop living our lives with morals and faith that all the mess begins. That is where our world is now. This example about Nicene Creed is absurd. What an individual chooses to translate as Christianity doesn't necessarily mean that is what it means. Charles I believe that maybe you have not read a bible. If you have you must have missed some really important parts. Again morality was established by God and when man started changing God's rules for man's convenience that is when the world starting going to hell. Man is opening the door to hell and falling in fast. Faith is what gives us life. Changing our morals for what a man thinks should be moral is just plain wrong.

  10. Oh I forgot I don't know many spoiled brats that I work with or are family members or friends. We all work every day, pay our bills and maybe if we pay all of our bills we may have enough for toys. Though my toys are buying clothes to wear for work, food and a vacation if I work really hard. My kids are all self sufficient but I don't consider any of them to be spoiled. My daughter is an ER nurse so she does well but she is a very caring and loving nurse due to teaching her morals, my stepson is a nuclear engineer but he spent 8 yrs in the Navy to acquire his degree and is doing very well now. My other stepson is a manager for an insurance company and may be slightly spoiled but he still works hard and helps his mother all the time. My stepdaughter is a pharm technician who is not extremely well off but she is a good mom and wife. I raised all of my children(my daughter and step children) with morals. Seems to me they turned out pretty well and I prayed a lot. So I am not sure who you are talking about but most of us are just not that spoiled.
    Also raising them with moral didn't seem to be such a bad thing.

  11. As a teacher I can absolutely agree that a classroom is a perfect place to teach and practice ethics. Each classroom is a community, and teachers have the opportunity to show students how they can live with people who are different than they are by recognizing these differences, and accepting them without fear, jealousy, etc. They can also learn that to treat everyone in a fair way might mean not treating everyone the same. Children can experience how nice it is to live in an accepting and positive enviornment, that brings out the best in everyone.
    Unfortunately, the 'No Child Left Behind Act' takes away much of the time to needed to foster this important learning. Perhaps this law was a good idea to start out with, but it is too inflexible, and ethics is not a standard (in elementary school)so role-playing to deal with situations that come up on the playground or in the classroom is not given enough time. In other words, if it is not tested, it probably won't be taught. It is more important to shove another science standard down their throats, than to teach children how to get along in the world. Maybe someday this thinking will change for public school, but I'm not holding my breath.

  12. I have to agree with whoever wrote first how is anything/anyone determined ethical? What is the deciding factor financial status? intelligence? race? As for religion for me I don't attend church simply because people interpret the bible in many different ways. Why should I believe what someone elses opinion was that day? It's going to be God and myself on judgement day not the people I went to church with or the preacher. I do agree with you though it does seem a little strange according to you that Christians and Islam have the same God but hate each other. There again interpretation is everything! There is one more thing I am wondering about, were you looking at notes on the desk during the iblog? It looked like you were fumbling with something.

  13. Oh, boy! So much to comment on...First off if you listen to what I said I NEVER complained about scientific advances..I extolled those but complained about the disconnect between fantastic discoveries and horrible behavior. You guys must listen and read carefully! Secondly, please look up and read what actually happened at Nicea! Thirdly, there is a HUGE difference between behavior guided by fight or flight and other reactions to natural selection AND aberrant human behavior ( like jealousy and greed ) which has nothing to do with survival ( greed will actually kill you if you don't control it!!) and more to do with the inherent downside of self-consciousness - hence the Fall from the Garden of Eden. Come on guys, keep up!!!

  14. Oy..where do I begin? First of all, I'll agree with you,Charlie. The Fall in the Garden of Eden *is* where the problem started. Mankind is, at its core, sinful, selfish, greedy, arrogant, etc etc. I could continue to explain how to get "the cure" for those sins, but I've BTDT more than once. People ARE sinful, always have been...there is nothing new under the sun(a really Good Book says that :) ).
    A lot of what you're saying seems to be similar to your "Beyond War" involvement..and while sincere and wonderful, it's not realistic. There's this underlying "Rodney King" attitude..why can't we just all get along? It's the ideal, but what do we do with the crazed lunatics in our world who are hell-bent on destroying others? What does Israel do when it is surrounded by neighbors whose primary goal in life it to annihilate them?(not to go down a rabbit trail..because as you said, one woman's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter...but to use it as an example of a modern war). If you lived in a neighborhood where all of your neighbors HATED people with British accents and felt they should be removed from the face of the earth, and they attacked your home and your precious daughters...would you make cookies and try to reason with them? Or would you instinctively try to protect Susan and the girls? THAT'S what we're dealing with, on a huge scale(with only a change in minor details), all around the world! There are CRAZED MAD MEN rallying groups of oppressed people with promises of utopia! Is there not sometimes a REASON for war(not the current "wars for oil, but others)?
    I've been on your blogs long enough to know that you DO have a constant meme...that all of man's problems stem from religion and that there is no absolute power handing down moral teachings. That's YOUR opinion and you present it as fact...well, I feel that MY views are fact too. I won't kill you over it or try to destroy your life, but I'll sure as heck defend my beliefs, which will make us angry and frustrated with each other. We both want the other to have a light-bulb moment and move to the other side. Right out of the starting gate, you say 'there is no absolute power/authority' and my response is "just because you deny it doesn't mean it isn't there".
    Now, your list of the "problems" in the world, that need to be corrected by ethics classes. Greed, coveting, jealousy that lead to frustration, anger and then violence. And yet, we live in a world where people who sneak across the border and steal a SS # and an identity...get free education, free health care, food stamps and "sanctuary". The word "illegal" is politically incorrect. We have politicians who are "poverty pimps" who glean votes by promising that the money the "rich have" will be taken from them and given to those who have not earned it. Is that some level...coveting, greed, jealousy? man's "consequences for bad choices" are another man's "class warfare". One man's "reproductive choice" is another's "murder". You can't just make a curriculum that decides which one of these is the 'right way'.

  15. part 2
    To end...the Council at Nicea.'re wrong on this one. The Council did not sit down and decide that if they made Jesus God, oh goody that will give us all sorts of control or power!! There was dissension in the emerging churches(many being started by word of mouth like some big game of 'telephone'), and the council needed to sit down and come up with a "standard doctrine" to be taught. They studied the Scriptures and prayed for guidance. The Scriptures are quite clear that Jesus was God. You don't have to believe it, but let us have our faith. I've been on the blogs for a long time, and I've never heard you rant about the fallacies/brainwashing/political machinations of the Koran or the Jewish Holy Books(except to talk about how violent the "Christian Bible" is). Why is that? Do you not see that there is 'intolerance, prejudice, and bigotry' on YOUR part there? You don't do blogs about what's wrong with the Koran and how it was made by men with political aspirations, or how the Torah/Talmud are full of the most violent and vengeful stories and encourage bloodshed and violence. But more than once, you've blogged about how the Christian Bible bothers you terribly.

  16. Sorry, Charlie, if I misinterpreted your virulent ranting with complaining. Sometimes it's hard to tell whether you are being serious or facetious with the tone you use in the iBlogs.

    I'll get back to you on what actually happened at Nicea, because those history books are in the office and not at home...but I suspect our interpretations will probably differ.

  17. Charles, you still did not explain why the words "morals" and "ethics" are different when Websters practically gives them the same definition. Did you read Karen's post? It is becoming clearer to me why there is some frustration being felt on some of your blogs.

    I did what you asked and looked up what happened at Nicea. First of all, there seems to be a lot of documented confusion as to what REALLY happened there. I suppose if you are a non-believer or doubter such as yourself you are going to look at Nicea and interpret it the way you do. Your "matter-of-fact" comment about Jesus being the Son of God speaks for itself.

    And you mentioned greed can kill. An excess of ANYTHING, even love, can cause disasterous results.

    People who have morals to live by are certainly not spoiled because of it. Where does that come in to play? Hope I'm wrong here but I sense some bitterness in your iBlob and previous posts. You want to take God and religion out of everything. Maybe it is me but it appears some people who are well educated lose their spirituality because they need bona fide "proof" of everything. Faith goes right out the window. That is too bad.

    This is not a question - just wondering how someone like yourself can be brought up Catholic and grow up to be so anti-religion and sound so bitter. Something must have happened. Its none of my business - just letting you know it shows and that I genuinely care. You have so much to be thankful for. A beautiful family, a career you enjoy. Who do you thank for that? You think it is just luck? O.K.

    I suppose we should be greatful, though, that you do not take the Bill Maher point of view about christianity. Mr. Maher thinks all people who believe in God are "mentally ill." That would include most of the people on the planet. I am not angry with Mr. Maher for saying that. It is his right. I just think he is a very sad little man.

    Take care.

  18. This will come in two parts...and I will be using some html tags in the first part; if they don't work, anything with that has "i" in brackets around it indicates that the word should be italicized.

    Okay, Charlie, you asked us to “look up and read what actually happened at Nicea”…you do realize that to an historian, that is essentially throwing down the gauntlet (and challenging me to reply).

    I’m not certain where you get your interpretation of what happened at the Council of Nicaea in 325 (at least I think that’s the one you are referring to, and not the Council of Nicaea in 787 in which the Eastern Church (aka Eastern Orthodox) permitted the veneration of images), and I’m sure that my explanation probably will differ from that of people who are more familiar with theology than I am. From what I have read, Constantine I called the Council of Nicaea to reject heresies that were pervading Christianity. Constantine was a recent convert, and as emperor, he exercised a prominent role in religious affairs. One of the emperor’s titles at the time, pontifex maximus, in fact, indicated that the emperor considered himself equal to the Pope in religious matters.

    The main concern at the Council of Nicaea was how to handle some of the heresies prevalent at the time that questioned the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Spirit). The greatest threat was Arianism, which was supported by Roman emperors. (Note: The Roman Empire had split into East and West for administrative purposes in the late 3rd century, with the West based in Rome and the East in Byzantium—later Constantinople, now Istanbul; those of you of a certain age probably now have the song “Istanbul (Not Constantinople)” stuck in your head). Essentially, Arianism (founded by Arius of Alexandria) was a Scriptural justification that the son is subordinate to the father—in other words, Christ is subordinate to God. This heresy incorporated the Greek concept of logos, that there is an intermediary between God and man. It was an attempt to explain Creation in terms of Greek philosophy, using Christ as logos (and thus subordinate to God). The heresy said that Christ was a creature above all men but still subordinate to God, making a distinction between God and Christ.

    At Nicaea, Athanasius led the Orthodox view, stating that Christ and God were consubstantial (homoousis—of the same nature), meaning that Christ is not a creature and is equal to God. Arianism was condemned at the Council of Nicaea, and Athanasius’s concept of homoousis was officially accepted at the second ecumenical Council of Constantinople in 381. Incidentally, the first time the term “Orthodox” was officially used was at the Council of Nicaea, in a sense marking the beginning of a separation or distinction between Eastern and Western Christians that would culminate in the Great Schism in 1054.

  19. (part 2)

    The Nicene Creed that is used in many Christian churches today was first drafted at Nicaea in 325 and was finalized at the Council of Constantinople in 381. The Creed emphasizes the quality and relationship between Father and Son, and it explicitly affirms the divinity of Christ (in contrast to Christ being an intermediary between God and man, as the Arians believed). And, of course, since the Creed originally was in Greek (the language of the Eastern Empire) and not Latin (the language of the Western Empire), the creed itself has been modified slightly as it has been translated into other languages (for instance, in German “geist” means “ghost” or “spirit”; Calvinists refer to the Holy Ghost, while Lutherans refer to the Holy Spirit).

    So, when we look at what happened at Nicaea, we have to look at the context—what is happening in Christendom at the time, what is happening in the Roman Empire at the time, etc. In many ways, the Council of Nicaea was the Eastern Empire’s—Constantine’s—way to challenge and question the authority of the Western Empire, which was heavily influenced by Arianism. It is much more than the location where Christian leaders affirmed the divinity of Christ and defended the Holy Trinity (and definitely a lot more than giving Constantine more “political oomph” as Charlie stated). Constantine already had plenty of “oomph,” as he became sole emperor of the Roman emperor in 325 because of his success on the battlefield, not because he called the Council that recognized the divinity of Christ.

  20. Mr. Shaughnessy, I agree with you 100% !!! Unfortunately, a large segment of people, including more than a few of us who live in the good old USA, view kindness and ethical behavior as weakness; i.e., a defect of character that is to be exploited and used against the ethical motivated by greedy and unscrupulous individuals in their quests for power and dominance. Aside from educational reform and an effort by our leaders to improve their own ethical (and moral) behavior, I don't know what the solution is besides keeping "the big stick" handy. The points you made, however, are from where i sit are correct and to the point.

  21. Mr. Shaughnessy, I agree with you 100% !!! Unfortunately, a large segment of people, including more than a few of us who live in the good old USA, view kindness and ethical behavior as weakness; i.e., a defect of character that is to be exploited and used against the ethical motivated by greedy and unscrupulous individuals in their quests for power and dominance. Aside from educational reform and an effort by our leaders to improve their own ethical (and moral) behavior, I don't know what the solution is besides keeping "the big stick" handy. The points you made, however, are from where i sit correct and germaine to the overall human condition.

  22. Hi Charles..I agree with your concepts and how you derived there..but it is also interesting after reading all the comments that you so masterfully elicit with your ideals and foresight, that two words seem to pop out IDEALISM AND INTERPRETATION. As mentioned in one response there is no "perfect" world..There will always be jealousy, racism, etc..differences in belief systems are inate..this world is becoming more complex with 6 billion people on the planet..there are no easy solutions and trying to get a majority of "individual thinkers" and "mass followers" on the same page can not happen...So many diverse peronalities and behaviors ..Carl Jung hit the "nail on the head" with his psychological concepts of Archtypes..An International forum would be a start in the right direction but is definitely idealistic..again there are Intepretations of the Bible, The Nicene creed, Eccumenical Councils .. So much diversity..

  23. Pretty sure I have NEVER blogged about "How terrible the Christian Bible is.." any more than I have blogged about how "great" the Koran, Talmud,or Grimm's Fairy Tales are. What I HAVE said is that the various interpretations of these books have "enabled" some followers to see them both as texts for Jihad or Crusade, and others as Peaceful Doctrine. The trouble is both sets of adherents see their interpretations as The Truth and the other as "mistaken." The power of these books to do so much good AND so much evil is imbued by the simple fact that ALL sides see it as written by THEIR Gods.That's a problem.

  24. And I didn't say that you said the Christian Bible was terrible. What I said was "But more than once, you've blogged about how the Christian Bible bothers you terribly." There's a difference.
    You may not even realize it, Charlie...and it very well could be that you are most familiar with the teachings of the Catholic Church because of your personal history, so it's the one you fall back on when you want to discuss how religious texts are "dangerous". Lily, who is new to the blogs, caught on pretty quickly that you have a lot of hostility toward religion and sound very bitter. I don't think you realize how strongly it comes across. You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater because SOME people have done terrible things in the name of their God.
    It could be your frame of reference, but you really do "pick on" Christianity much more than any other faith. You've never told us how the Koran came to be, or who wrote it or why, or what's in it. Same for the Jewish Holy Books...but Christianity, you know ALL about how it's a myth and those priests just made up stuff and burned what they didn't like etc etc. There isn't the same level of least it SOUNDS that way.
    And I'll admit...I see it from an "insider's view". I don't see many Jews or Christians running around with bombs strapped to them, killing innocent people who will not conform to their beliefs, and hiding bombs and ammunition in hospitals, private family homes, and schools full of children. Except for a few lone crazies who think that bombing an abortion clinic is somehow justice for the murders committed there(?????) or the Crusades thousands of years ago(and NOT by Evangelicals), it's just not there. Is this basically a way to avoid talking about the pink elephant in the room? That instead of admitting that the world has ALWAYS had a problem with radical Islam, it's just easier and more PC to funnel ALL religious texts and beliefs into one big pile of dangerous propaganda?
    I need to get back to my patients, but am looking forward to hearing just WHERE you're coming from here.

  25. Although Charlie and I agree on politics, we certainly do not on religion. Nevertheless, I see some value in what Charlie is saying. Many individuals are motivated to do ‘good’ because of their belief in God and an ultimate eternal reward. There is certainly nothing wrong with that. However, there are many people who do not believe in God, many of whom will never change that view in this lifetime. Yet it cannot be denied that many of them are truly good people. What motivates them to do ‘good’? Perhaps the reasons vary from person to person, but in a society in which there are many who do not embrace God it would be beneficial to teach ‘ethics’ or ‘morality’ from a different perspective. If these principles cannot be embraced because of a hope of an ultimate eternal reward, can they be accepted because society places a value on them? Of course, then it becomes necessary for society to decide on which principles they value and certainly there would be differing opinions. But, I believe that there are certain principles such as honesty and kindness that society mostly would agree on. I am grateful for the belief that I have in God, yet I still understand that one can be a good person whether they have that belief or not. I have an 18 year old son who is extremely intelligent and very scientific in nature. Although he was raised in a very religious home, he struggles aligning religion with science. I know that this is a personal quest for him and one for which I cannot give him the answer, nevertheless, I remind him that regardless of the conclusion he ultimately arrives at, he IS a good person. I also remind him that regardless of one’s belief in a superior being, there are certain principles that I value and expect him to follow throughout his life. These are principles that will lead one to peace in this life. Some may call them ‘ethics’ others may call them ‘morals’, but to my children, I call them the plan of happiness regardless of the motivation behind them.

  26. I think you might like Ecclesiastes with reference to your point(s) Charlie.

    Solomon had access to all the religions, cultures, beliefs. He had wealth, wisdom.

    He had many wives from many different nations and heard all the different interpretations.

    And he ended up getting depressed about it.

    He let out his feelings in these writings..."being honest with yourself" kind of feelings.

    I like this that he wrote,

    "He (God) has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

    I was reading a book written in the 1900s about religions of the world.

    Generally people fear death and punishment and there always seemed to be a small handful of "priest craft" in most all the faiths that were readily available to sell you items and prayers to help redeem you.

    An interesting group of people were the "Karens". They said that they used to have a special holy book and lost it. So they felt that because of this God would not listen to them anymore.

    This is soooo "nothing new under the sun."

    Wise counsel is good...but cutting out the "middle man" between yourself and God is not only refreshing, I think it makes you more honest with God.

    Think about it...God doesn't need to know what everybody else says when you just talk to Him...being real with God has made a big difference in my life.

  27. Charlie maybe you should take the word jealousy out and replace it with the word's spite, selfish and greed i actually think that might work better and as for as the phase SPOILED BRAT GO'S WE ARE ALL SPOILED BRAT'S because we all want our owne way and we don't even think about ethic's and morals when wear after something we want and we have had alot of leader's out there who have done alot of unethical thing's and showed no moral's.

  28. @Karen: WOW! you really did your homework. And thanks for that. @Joann: I do agree in the fact that religion is not responsible for all problems or wars etc. (Don't believe was what he was meaning to imply.) And that is his OWN opinions (although i share that opinion) about a higher power. Also, i admire you guys for not losing it (many would have) while defending your beliefs. Do i think the world would be better off without religion? Not sure! It seems here to stay. I think has to do with the whole fear of loneliness in the human condition. If God or Christ is with us always, then we are never truly alone. But Charlie raises good points. Hoping it don't get more folks killed as it has in the past. I also agree (someone stated) that humans have changed some for the good such as no more gladiators, human sacrifices, stoning, off with your head etc. Charlie's last comment of; it is the interpretations of everyone on BOTH sides being "RIGHT". That is the "problem" not the morals. "Our way is right etc." They are willing to fight or die to defend it. No different from a gang defending its turf. The are so busy arguing and defending they are not looking at the fact, they are ignoring their own doctrines. Would God want them to kill? This is Extremism. Dying for a good cause is admirable. Justifiable. Problems too they drag others into the midst of it also, then no one wins.

  29. So bascially Charles, you are saying that we should leave morals behind because different religions that preach different morals do so because of different agendas. Therefore, in one instance, based a particular religion's morals, it would be okay to kill someone, while in another religion, based on their morals, it would not be okay.
    If we scrap the morals part, then we are just left with 'it is not right to kill someone because it makes the world less pleasant to live in', which makes it ethical.
    This is a more practical, consistent, and better for the greater good way of thinking, than relying on morals. You are not saying that one religion is better than the other, and that people should not be religious...but that a person's actions and behavior should be based on ethics, and not morals.
    I am going by this blog entirely, since this is the first one I've read/listened to, so I'm not going by any preconceived ideas about your views.
    If this is the case, (my take on your blog), then I agree with your point of view. Although, I don't think having a big international 'pow-wow' on this would work, until all religion dies off (ducks and hides).
    PS I am not an atheist, although my religion shouldn't matter, it is just how I see the world from my education and experience.

  30. Wanted to add: Using Jesus to glorify war is like is war to enforce peace. It just don't make any sense. GLOBAL promotion of tolerance and understanding of OTHER cultures is the only way to promote world peace it seems. We seem to be behaving exactly the same as little children on a playground. Tantrums of i want my way. Only now the world is our adult playground. Spoiled as in instant gratification which technology is aiding in. Seems tolerance is a learned virtue and not so much a natural one. Arguing and judging seems to come be a natural. Or in other words sin is in our nature so we have to WORK on improving ourself nearly daily. Is hard work. Perhaps as people become more spoiled is making it harder to work on. That may be behind the seemingly decline of morality and not so much the loss of religions. I think people are just literally losing their faith as time marches on. Is typical for newer generations to break traditions now and again. Just an idea of course. Personally the black eyed peas music such as one tribe, union, and where is the love are good representations of ethical ideals.

  31. I'm not sure if ethics are morals are the right word's to use for killing because if my family was being threaten and it mint i had to kill to portected them would that be moraly are ethicly wrong are would that be called servival because ethicly and moraly i would not do something like that but in fear i think i have no choice are do i do like the camanment's say thou shall not kill and let my family die.

  32. @skat35: You’re welcome! As I mentioned, Charlie said we should read about what actually happened at Nicaea, and you know that if it’s history-related, I feel obligated to comment (especially if Charlie’s interpretation is a bit different from what I find out when I read).

    @Charlie: Grimm’s Fairy Tales? I hope you aren’t implying that what is written in the Bible, the Koran, the Talmud, etc. equates to Rapunzel, Cinderella, Hansel and Gretel, etc. (although Grimm’s Fairy Tales do have morals—but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are moral).

    @Cindy G.: Last I checked, religions have beliefs, not morals. There is a difference between the two. Beliefs involve thought, while morals reflect behavior. You can have faith, but you might not necessarily live a moral life (Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Ted Haggard, for instance, had a few issues with that).

    @Jeannie: I love the concept of a “plan of happiness.” Knowing your faith (and where he is going to college), I’m sure you don’t have to worry about your son leading a moral and ethical life.

    One final thought (for now)…for all the blathering about how men kill each other over religion, how do we know that it was their faith (or how they interpreted the Bible or other religious texts) and not other factors that contributed to this decision? After all, the Crusades were more than an attempt to drive Islam out of the Middle East; they were also an attempt to regain control of trade routes and to establish new commercial relationships in the region. It’s not always just religion that motivates them to kill, although I will admit that sometimes it is used as a justification—such as burning heretics at the stake because they are “non-believers” or dare to challenge the traditional beliefs.

  33. You want ethics to be taught in schools? So I would let strangers determine what is ethical or not. I don't know about the rest of you but that sound ridiculous to me. How would I even know what the teacher would be teaching? There are issues I believe that only parents are responsible to teach their kids. So I am going to let a teacher tell my child what is right or wrong. That doesn't even make sense to me.
    I think we are all frustrated because when we do ask you to explain your remarks and you come back with a different remark or only answer what I think you believe is correct about in your point of view. You don't acknowledge that we have a point, which makes us all believe that you are angry or just annoyed at our remarks. Or you deny that you didn't mean your remarks to be interpreted that way. But Joann and Lilly are right. Maybe you should go back and look at yourself and listen to your last blog and you will see what the rest of us see. You do appear bitter and angry about Christianity and we are wondering why you feel that way. There has to be something underlying your anger. I think we all are looking for something in your character that maybe you just don't have. What an actor portrays and what he really is is normally not the same. I am still looking for Mr Sheffield and in the end you are not him. That is reality. I am not speaking for anyone but myself but the man on TV and the man on the blog appear miles apart.

  34. @Jeannie: Great comment as usual! Agreed! @Joann: good points as usual (although i have been in that hot seat with you as Charlie is about now & more than a few times):)! and agree that radical Islam is more worrisome. @Cindy: You made a good point too. Perhaps there is a place for both morality and ethics.
    @Lily: I happen to agree with Bill Maher. (yes, i know what a surprise) "He preaches the gospel of i don't know". Sums my ideas on religion up pretty good. lol

  35. You know i would really like to be a fly on the wall when you read some of these i can just see your face and those eyebrows raise up and you shanking your head saying NO!You are not listening to what i said go back and listen!

  36. Exactly, Karen. That's my whole point. I think it is VERY rare that anyone commits violence because of their religion, but it always provides the PERFECT excuse for violence ( for any number of personal, political, twisted reasons) if you can claim that you are doing it on behalf of your religion and that it is therefore morally justified!

  37. @Roxy: I love all of your positive comments, and appreciate that you can see/understand different sides of the blog.

    @Karen: You make a good point about the difference between beliefs and morals, and give a great example. As a Catholic, I think I often get the two confused. In the 70's we were encouraged to write letters to ABC threatening to boycott ABC shows because we were offended by the sitcom SOAP due to the fact that there was a same sex couple on the show (later, when I actually watched the show, I discovered that I enjoyed it). Also, more recently at a different parish, we were told to vote 'yes' on Proposition 8 (makes same-sex marriage illegal in CA). So the way I see it, my religion (not so much anymore) pushes a certain moral code on their parishioners (or as in my earlier words: 'preach...morals') due to their system of beliefs.

  38. @karen: that is so true! Sometimes there is underlying or other causes of war that is unknown to those of us fighting it. Other or multiple motives involved. Some also say the Holy Crusades never ended really and are still going on. Some folks say war is all about oil, land, money, and power. Or supplying weapons. Hard to tell. Our leaders could lie too sad to say. We see this happen time and again. Promoted car salesmen. Other countries could lie or use propaganda to influence hatred of Americans etc.

  39. @Diane, I understand you are frustrated, but I must defend Charlie. You said "I think we all are looking for something in your character that maybe you just don't have."...and I've been blessed to SEE those wonderful character traits for myself. It was the joke on Charlie's old blogs, that one day it would say on my tombstone "here lies Charles Shaughnessy's worst nightmare",and it's how I first introduced myself to him "Hi I'm JoAnn, and I'm your worst nightmare". I used only ZMT as a screen name at the time, and he grabbed both of my hands, said "no way!! You're ZMT?" and gave me a hug. He has been absolutely wonderful and gracious, going above and beyond the call of duty for my group of friends(whom I've met through him), every single time we've met him.
    Yes, we can go at it on the blog when it comes to religion and/or politics, but there is so much more that binds us all together. I can't say enough wonderful things about Charlie and am so thankful to him for the friends I've made.
    There is more to this than just "some heated blogs".There are funny blogs, serious issues, etc where we all have amazing discussions. And in person..he is bloody incredible. Please don't assume that he is "acting nice" in public and being a doody-head on the blogs. I'm equally as guilty of being passionate about a subject and getting aggravated when I'm not getting my point across. I wouldn't participate in these blogs if it wasn't downright FUN.

  40. Your examples of ethics are already established morals. Also I don't remember in any of my religious classes where it was justified by Jesus that people should be killing each other. If you really understood the true teaching of Jesus you would understand that Christianity is not about killing it is exactly the opposite. If people(proclaimed Christians) in the past used murder justified by being a Christian you know that doesn't even make sense. If you read the gospel(I am not sure if you have or not), you would understand that Jesus' teaching was to love God with all your heart and love your neighbor. So, if any one's twisted way of proclaiming to be a Christian by murdering to justify their act this is not Jesus' teaching. You forgot that God gave man free will. Man chooses how he is going to live his life. If he chooses to love God and try to live his or hers life like Jesus than that is that individuals choice. If we sin or do anything unethical there is still time in our life to ask for forgiveness and try to live a better life. If you change morals to ethics and disregard any teachings of the Bible or Koran etc. Charles, who do we answer to when our life has ended? Again who chooses what is ethical? What if the POTUS decides that it is ethical to kill the elderly because their life is no longer productive, should we consider that ethical because he says that? I guess I would have to say goodbye to my parents because the POTUS says so. Maybe that would be considered ethical in his eyes but it is not moral. See
    where your ideals are all wrong. Morals were established by God. Man chooses to be moral or not. Not you or any one else for that matter can force a person to behave ethically. That is the individuals choose. I can only answer to God for my sins when the day of judgement comes, not any one else. It is when individuals removed God from their lives is when all the hell broke loose.
    Also Jesus was considered the son of God way before the Niceen Creed. I believe that God determined that not man.
    Also if you really believe that religion can justify murder you must have not read the Gospel at all.

  41. Just curious—why would anyone think that when they are participating in Charlie’s blog that they are “speaking” with Shane Donovan, Maxwell Sheffield, Saint John Powell, etc.,--in other words, the characters--and not the actor? It is a sign of a great actor that he can play a role that is vastly different from what he is in real life. Maxwell was a Republican; Charlie is a Democrat. Maxwell was distant from his children (and not really all that involved in their lives); Charlie definitely is engaged in his daughters’ lives. When I saw Charlie perform in "Spamalot," I didn’t think I was watching Maxwell on stage (even if they threw in a few “Nanny” references). When I saw Charlie as Henry Higgins, I didn’t see Maxwell (or King Arthur). They are roles, and one of Charlie’s “roles” is husband and father. Another is blogger. He has a right to speak his mind, and we don’t always agree with him (in fact, I think he likes it when we don’t agree with him, as long as we do it politely and coherently). I know from personal experience that he is a pleasant person, and certainly not the angry man who occasionally appears on the iBlogs. Plus, Charlie is definitely not afraid to demonstrate his passion for a topic, while Maxwell seldom showed what he thought about an issue. I would have been bored discussing topics on a blog with Maxwell. I enjoy the challenge of debating issues with Charlie (even if it does get a bit frustrating at times).

    By the way, Charlie--thanks for the shout-out (although now you're starting to scare me when you say what I write affirms what you're saying).

  42. I don't know but i think there is only one thing that we are missing here is that Charlie is a person and his blog has nothing to do with his acting i can see him as more than just and actor i see him as a man with opinion's and it has nothing to do with his acting i can sperate the two maybe it's just that he is much smarter than we are so we fine him more intimadating i don't see any anger maybe anoyed but not anger and i cant see how teaching morals and ethics is that hard is there more than one way to teach them morals and ethics are just that morals and ethics how can they be tought wrong you can't change what they mean so how can they be tought wrong.

  43. First of all, Karen, you obviously got a lot more out of reading about Nicea than I did. My brain is still recovering from your explanation to Charles. That was great!

    Diane, I believe you are correct when you say Charles has not read the Bible. He apparently does not see the good qualities the Bible has such as love, mercy and forgiveness.

    And JoAnn, you go girl! Charles
    attacks Christianity with a vengeance and tries to appear "fair" about it. When in reality, he exhibits intolerance, bigotry and prejudice (and don't forget bitterness) towards Christianity - probably without even realizing it.

    Charles, I went back and watched your iBlog again and realized everything you said has been shot down by most of us on this blog. However, you do not acknowledge it.

    The problem is you have no faith and see only the bad that has come out of religion by eccentrics. At the very end of your last post to Karen (and forgive me for this but I know you want me to be honest) when your back is up against the wall you explain to Karen that it is only in those "rare" circumstances that religion brings out those who use it to morally justify violence and other horrible deeds.

    So what you are saying is morals and religion should be totally abandoned for the RARE instances you are talking about. You are back pedaling and not doing a very good job of it.

    Again, forgive me for being direct, but you are in WAY over your head on the subject of religion or anything to do with God for that matter. It makes me feel bad for you.

    Tonight I will say a prayer for you and maybe some of the other ladies will do the same. After all, that is the Christian thing to do.

  44. Just a reminder since we are celebrating 9-11. It wasn't Christians that attacked the Twin Towers. As I remember it that was Islam extremist that commit that horrendous act. The only thing Christians did was either lost their lives or try to help those who needed it. Of course, then again not all died or helped are Christians but the point is this was not done by Christians. This is modern day. Also just want to remind you as a country with Christians should we have not done anything and let the Nazi's kill all the Jews because we don't believe in war? You may think wars are not necessary but what do we do lay down and play dead.

  45. @Cindy G. Thanks so much for that acknowledgement. You made my day.
    @Joann & Karen: Thank you also for that defense of Charlie. So sweet and you guys are a great fans. Maybe bigger than me. Hard thing to admit. Okay longer. Want to hug you myself now Jo. My arch rival (lol). I so love you and respect you guys! This blog just wouldn't be the same without you. I need folks to keep me thinking, guessing, and straight. The world does need all kinds of minds and then to put our heads together to make decisions. Good examples here of this on Only Connect.
    PS. humbling day today. the history channel is doing a great tribute to the story of the world trade center if you guys get a chance.

  46. Thinking Charlie did not mean to upset anyone. He seems only trying to help by pointing stuff out. Believe that some corrupt folks use religion as a reason (as we have also stated before) to justify wars (and other things) or killing for a good cause. Is like a smoke screen for possible hidden agenda. Is so hard for us non-religious folks to understand how folks can fall for this sometimes and is giving religion a bad rep. We wish people to stop blindly following and falling for it. Rather than merely dying for their cause they are coursed into believing dying for God or country. Free ticket to heaven. Being religious in not the problem is being fanatical. How will you know where is the stopping line between the two when if get there? What is going to happen if science or discovery continuous to give evidence there may be or was no God by answering more mysteries of the universe? will folks panic in thinking we are on our own here? Anyway some of us think without relgion influencing many of our decisions we could have a clear mindset instead of being already headed or led into a particular direction. Instituting of learning shared ethics for everyone may help to stop so much tribalism in the world. It may help folks to think more clearly and not fall so easily for propaganda. Mutual respect etc. Us non religious folks just want relgion out of politics because of these differences etc. But even if this were to happen, i feel people just argue by nature and differences is the first thing people seem to notice so is hard to train ourselves to look beyond that to want to form a union with others. Perhaps relgion is not the WHOLE problem is just partly to blame sometimes and the rest is human nature. plus, greed or power etc. Can merely be a contributing factor of taking us away from uniting with others. A label. I hope this made any sense. Trying! course learned most of this from this blog. ;)!

  47. Karen and Joann,
    i love you guys but you have to understand that I continued to watch The Nanny because I just can't believe a man can appear so kind and caring and just be acting. Some part of the actor comes out of a person when they are acting. Maybe I am wrong but I guess I just felt that part of Mr Sheffield is in Charles. That is the way I feel. You don't have to agree with me. Maybe because I have not met him I have not seen him in any other way other than these blogs. If you look at his blogs which I just started this year, you would understand where I am coming from. I am lucky to have met all of you and that is what I am the most thankful for. I am sorry if I offended any of you. Lilly does have a point though in her most recent blog It is good I have all of you to keep me in line cuz as you can tell I have quite the opinion. I am sorry if I offended you Charles as I don't know you and I can be wrong about people. I can admit when I am wrong because I am human too. Today is a somber day and now I am going to pray for those family members who have lost their love ones. Also since it is the first week of football, Go Bears!!!! I am trying to see some good in this day too. God Bless all of you and again I am sincerely lucky to have you all as my friends.

  48. Following Charlie's lead: in a nutshell wanted to summarize a point that i learned from this blog. Okay, this is it. Have said enough, starting to blog hog. Although we seem to be capable of so much more, we seem to be comfortable in following in nearly the same old footsteps of our ancestors. The case of the old familiar i guess. We just can't seem to change or learn from our mistakes hardly at all. Even if it may prove disastrous in the end. Maybe it just takes so much to wake or shake us up. Hopefully by then won't be to late to fix or overcome. Maybe we just think we can keep-passing the buck on to our kids. Let them figure it out. Maybe we are slowly getting smarter and is hard to see it. Like evolution takes hundreds of years maybe. If it is religions fault behind these problems perhaps in time we will be able to see this as folks continue to move away from traditional organized religions. Or as others see it: the decline in morality also do to the moving away from organized religions. I think largely also because they are failing followers by the sin some of their leaders are committing. We may be arriving at a crossroads or turning point with all this or a division and that is to what he is referring. And it may either make us or break us. Hoping not to divide us even more. But if morality does in fact crumble, since the two seem so closely related. Wouldn't you rather teach ethics to the children of the world and institute some basis for respect and tolerance rather than risk the possibility of having morality crumble around us and have none? This is a good idea he has. Everyone wins! Whatever side you are on benefits.

  49. Absolutely! I grew up arguing around the dinner table, and sometimes it got VERY heated, but that's how passionate people are. I am so glad that all of you are as passionate and engaged in these debates as I am. I might disagree with you profoundly and think you utterly mistaken, BUT I value immensely your willingness to think, question, argue and wrestle with these very important issues. I would rather have someone honestly and passionately opposed to my way of thinking than simply asleep. Meantime, yes, it is important that we take time out today to mourn those lost on 9/11 as well as those that have suffered in all the wars and violence since then. It is also a good day to really reflect on who was responsible and why, and look hard, deeply and honestly at what we might do, or attempt to do, as a society to minimize the chances of something like this happening more often. My quick answer to the above is that those responsible were religious extremists, dying and killing in the name of their God. A solution would be to view all religion as, by definition, all- inclusive: that is inclusive of Moslem, Christian, Jew,mormon, atheist,saint, sinner gay, straight, man, woman, rich and poor. And IF your religion is in any way EXCLUSIVE of ANY of the above, it is faulty and needs to be adjusted in the name of the ONE TRUE GOD.

  50. We always had those kind of discussions in my home too, Charlie. What is difficult is now having children-in-law that think very differently than I do. Now we cannot have those kind of discussions anymore because they are too divisive on a family. I would rather our family be happy than be right about politics. In regards to remembering the events of a decade ago, I would like to share a link to my blog with you.

  51. @Charlie: I don’t know where to begin, other than to say I’ll leave the spiritual and theological discussions to those who are far more familiar with the Bible than I am. The whole concept of “ONE TRUE GOD” that you speak of…what do we call this one true God? Allah? Yahweh? Jehovah? Jeshua? Or just God? Sounds a bit like Unitarian Universalism to me, with the notion of one God (instead of the Trinity) and acceptance of all religions in an inclusive manner. Also, if we are all supposed to follow this one true God, how do you propose we include atheists, who, by definition, deny the existence of any deity? (This, by the way, is a contrast to Deists like Thomas Jefferson, who acknowledged the existence of a deity without a need for organized religion).

    Finally, you commented about reflecting on who was responsible and why…it was a worldwide terrorist network whose leader had been involved in planning attacks on the United States since 1993. If Bill Clinton had been more proactive in his response to the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and to the attacks on U.S. embassies around the globe and the attack on the U.S.S. Cole in 2000, perhaps the Twin Towers would still be standing, and maybe we wouldn’t have dedicated Flight 93 National Memorial yesterday. Yes, 9/11 happened on Bush’s watch, but it wasn’t entirely his fault—just like the economic problems we have today started while Bush was president but had their origins in the failed fiscal policies of the Clinton administration.

  52. Karen, in answer to the first part about which God and who should be included..the answer is "YES." In answer to the second...are you seriously choosing this day to re-hash the "Clinton is to blame for 9/11" boondoggle???

  53. I feel it necessary to defend Diane here. Does anyone REALLY believe Diane was implying she believes Charles is actually Mr. Sheffield in real life. I hope not. The way I took her comment was there are endearing traits in Mr. Sheffield that she is finding out Charles does not have and that disappoints her.

    Also, I have a little quote that I heard a long time ago and would like to share it with you because it sums up our differences pretty well with respect to God and religion. I hope Charles will allow it. He does not want us to quote but this one is pretty short. It goes like this:

    "For those who believe in God
    no explanation is necessary -
    for those who do not, no
    explanation will suffice."

  54. Charlie! I also grew up to discuss around a table and sometimes we ended up arguing, but how beautiful it was! I must say that I follow and participate in your blog is a bit like being back around the table with regard to agree or disagree with your opinion, there is a saying here with us: the reason to be mad

  55. @Charlie: I apologize if the timing was inappropriate for my 9/11 comments. I should have waited until today to submit that portion of the comment. It came out of frustration from watching a couple of commentators on Sunday reflecting on the nation since 9/11 and how it wouldn't have happened if the nation had a different president.

  56. Sigh...oh Charlie. Here we go again. I think this is gonna be a 2-parter(LOL) I know full well "who did this", and they weren't reading the Old or New Testament when they did it. They weren't screaming out the name of Jesus or G-d, they weren't speaking Hebrew or doing the Rosary. I know I'm not the only one who has caught on that there is a common denominator among AlQaeda, Taliban, Hamas, the Ft. Hood Massacre, the Shoe Bomber, the Christmas Day Underpants Guy. They are doing these acts because it is commanded in the ahadith.
    I saw an interview yesterday with the sister of the flight 77(Pentagon) pilot. She was just amazed that after the Fort Hood massacre, President Obama said that the events of that day were "unimaginable". UNIMAGINABLE? To whom? They were quite obvious to me...this guy had been speaking openly about Jihad, corresponding with a radical Iman, and was in our military! A blind man in Jersey saw that one coming...but it wasn't PC or "tolerant" to be proactive.
    I'm not saying that there aren't loonies out there who will 'see things' in religious texts. Mark David Chapman saw HIS 'mission' in "Catcher in the Rye". Son of Sam's dog told him to kill all of those women. Warren Jeffs used the Mormon books to justify abusing children. And I'll be brutally honest...what about the violence and bloodshed in video games that are often played by those most at risk for anti-social behavior? Like "Saint's Row"? Isn't your participation in that encouraging the violence, the use of weapons to solve problems? (ok, now wipe the tea off your keyboard and keep reading). Some groups have TRIED to get those violent games off the market, to no avail. And that's a GAME. Do you really think people will give up their deep, devout faith, when we can't even get violent video games and pornography to go away? Again...there's a pink elephant in the room, and it's not fair to punish/blame ALL faiths for the actions of one radical arm of a particular religion.

  57. Part 2(and apparently my name is now Miss JoAnn, I can't find JoAnnZMT anymore).
    Charlie, "A solution would be to view all religion as, by definition, all- inclusive: that is inclusive of Moslem, Christian, Jew,mormon, atheist,saint, sinner gay, straight, man, woman, rich and poor. And IF your religion is in any way EXCLUSIVE of ANY of the above, it is faulty and needs to be adjusted in the name of the ONE TRUE GOD."
    Do you REALLY think that's the answer? I know it's your opinion, and just one idea of how to handle this, but it's completely unrealistic and totally against the Freedom of Religion we have in this country. And...Jesus DID come to save all of those on that list! We all have an equal opportunity to come to Him for salvation, slaves and masters, Jews and Gentiles, Muslims, atheists, prostitute, drug dealers, gays, etc. There is no requirement other than faith that Jesus is who He says He is, confessing that we are sinners who can not get to Heaven on our own merit, and asking Him to come to us. The invitation is there, we just have to RSVP. However, you have the free will to say no. If an atheist does not feel comfortable in my church, it's not because he hasn't been greeted, welcomed, introduced to's because he doesn't want to hear the Message and CHOOSES to reject it, not the other way around.
    Jesus is not "faulty", mankind is. Humans are sinful, greedy, selfish, quick to anger, covetous, etc etc etc. You could figure out a way to outlaw religions, and it wouldn't stop ANY of the faithful(any faith)from worshipping silently. You could come to my home and take my Bibles, and my faith would STRENGTHEN because of it. I think you're fighting a losing battle here. Most of us who are faithful may disagree with other faiths, but we are tolerant of their existence and understand that it is God's job to change hearts, and that we have free will to CHOOSE to believe. That's what Jesus said...not "follow me or say goodbye to your head".

  58. Charles if you would read the bible you would understand not every behavior can be condoned. I am not saying that that person should not be loved or respected but we cannot go on agreeing with what we know is wrong. Love the sinner hate the sin.

  59. Lilly,
    Thanks again. Your quote is insightful and unfortunately true. It is no surprise that Christians are persecuted because Jesus told us that would be so. Looks like what he said is sadly too true.

  60. I am back again. A bad penny, i said was done. Is my opinion (and i doubt many others here share my view) that Unitarianism rocks! Is the only church that i am excited about visiting. Heard there is one 60 miles away and i wish i could go but never get the opportunity. Have been told by friends that because they accept gay members they are a doomed religion for the starting gate. Still not going to let that detour me from being curious or buying a t-shirt. (Been thinking about that lately) Also, tempted to join up with the Illuminati. (If i could find them) lol
    Jo: Agree that if i went to your church (and i am kinda borderline atheistic i reckon)(more agnostic really, but i am still curious about spirituality) i'd probably feel quite at home and comfortable. The message is fine and i would most likely enjoy it. The problem is if you don't believe whole heartily in the foundation is hard to embrace the the drywall. Learning lessons can't hurt anyway. Same nearly as going to school. I believe the bible is a guide book, i don't hate and i hate to dispute it. Simply hard emotionally to do. Don't feel qualified really. Is hard too, i feel Charles Darwin was a genius ahead of his time and i surely don't want (or feel qualified) to dispute his findings as well. I am hardly a genius. What i do is try and take a medium position on things (but Christians call me passive and a fence rider) and i weigh things out and make decisions accordingly. Just how i role. And what i can not understand (and i have stated this before i know) and i respect Christianity as much as i do my own family and America because they seem so interconnected with each other. But, we are supposed to have freedom of ANY and ALL religions and i try to respect that clause of our Country's foundation. Drum roll! How is it (other than the bible says so) that you are absolutely sure that Christianity is the ONLY way to heaven and that the other ones (how could i be siding with Jihad beliefs in any way shape or form) have a choice to change or suffer the wrath. How is it that we are blessed? What is so GREAT about us that we are so worthy to inherit a leg up toward footsteps of Christ? We are not Israel, Monks in robes. Point trying to make is: don't you think that the Chinese, Japanese, Aborigines, etc. also believe there way or holy books, scrolls, text, etc are they ONE TRUE most virtues wonderful best way. How can WE be the only RIGHT way? The only one with the KEY to immortality or heaven. This is why i value Unitarianism so much. I can't look at a gay person and feel i have the balls to remind them of hell. No matter if i think yucky if they are smooching in front of me. I have done things i am not proud of, have to live with etc. Everyone has. Is not that i WANT to contest the all mighty bible and prove it Null and void. Is truly that i don't understand certain things with the foundation and basis of it all.

  61. Okay one final thought. Am i sounding like Jerry Springer? And then i WILL give the religion topic a break (but only for now) or perhaps i will be just beating a dead horse. I think (and i may be the only one here) that pandeism has a pretty cool theory in that: "we humans could in fact be the emotional experiences of God." A supreme being with infinitive powers hence may not have the ability to do so and is enabling us (his creations) to experience this for him. You know learn from us. Remember Data on Star Trek? lol We are very emotional beings and love and hate seem to be the most powerful of them all. Idk! just a theory. Now leaving before i get run out of Dodge on a rail.

  62. Woops forgot some of other aspects of pandeism. Or God sacrificed himself there by then becoming the universe making us all pieces of God and all around us other pieces. And we then get to have our emotional experiences thanks due to his scarfice. Giving us the ability to feel both pleasure and pain, happy and sad etc. I hope this is right and makes sense.

  63. I knew you were impressive on the outside, but OMG, are you impressive on the inside!

  64. @californiapagan You said it! Have been thinking the very same. Great to be beautiful on the outside but inside and out? That is the clincher. And smart too. Why i hang around this blog, also all these lovely ladies here. ;)!

  65. @Charlie: Okay, it's been a week. Now I have a question for you: What was the big deal about the 9/11 commemoration/celebration/memorial? I'm approaching this from an historical perspective (big surprise there), but never before have we really "celebrated" something like this. The U.S. didn't have a "10 years after Pearl Harbor" event in 1951, memorializing the last time there was an attack on U.S. soil. Granted, Civil War soldiers would hold reunions (even into the early 1900s), but they never commemorated 10 years after Fort Sumter, 10 years after Antietam, 10 years after Gettysburg, etc. The last time I can recall this sort of remembrance was around the time of the U.S. Bicentennial--and even then, it wasn't around the clock. So please, help me out--why 9/11? It can't just be because it's still fresh in our minds, or because of the number of lives lost. Pearl Harbor was still fresh in people's minds in 1951, and almost as many lives were lost that day as on 9/11.

    And if it's a sign that the nation is going to start remembering its past, I'm looking forward to the seeing the 70th anniversary of Pearl Harbor commemorations this December, the 150th of Antietam next September, the 200th of the British army burning Washington, DC in August 2014, etc.

  66. Charlie I am just now catching up on this particular blog and it is really terrific to read. I love that everyone who posts is so passionate about their opinions.

    Is everything really done in the name of religion? Or is it the way people have been brought up or just the way their family has always done it. Do people on their own see that what they are doing is wrong and change? Or are they stuck where they are with no way out?

    Can compassion and integrity be taught? And if so who should teach it? When children are small they watch what the adults do and follow it. What if just one adult could show them a better way? Is it possible they could change? Or is it all determined where they are in their society?

    These are what I wonder about frequently with the behavior that I see, and wonder how can you treat another human being that way? They are a person just like you.

    Maybe those questions are too innocent or too simplistic I don't know. Just keep asking the questions in your blogs and it will just keep us all thinking.

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