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Posted on May 13 at 5:14 a.m.
But to get closer to the original article and topic...you and any other Christian are free to believe what you want to believe. You are free to share those beliefs with others, and they consequently are free to ignore you, walk away, or dismiss your arguments. Young children being evangelized under the types of activities sponsored by CEF don't have those options. They are too young to think critically, not savvy enough to make the distinction between a "school activity" and an activity that just happens to be taking place in a school. They are all too vulnerable to both peer pressure and the authority of adults. Is that really how you want to see people come to your faith by deception, manipulation, programming and subterfuge -- by taking advantage of a child's immaturity and still-forming intellect? To quote from Pink Floyd's "The Wall," leave the kids alone! Let them mature to the age when they can responsibly and thoughtfully make their own decisions about spirituality.
On Reading, Writing, and Original Sin
Posted on May 13 at 5:12 a.m.
"And no one can doubt or dismiss the wonderful impact that Christianity has had on this Nation since it's inception. We were founded on those beliefs...like it or not."
If we were founded on those beliefs, why is there no mention of Jesus or Christianity in our founding documents? Why is the only religious reference in the Declaration of Independence to "the laws of Nature and Nature's God?" (A vague phrase that is associated not with any Christian theology, but with Deism.) Why are the only mentions of religion in the Constitution both designed to keep government OUT of the religious sphere? (I.e., no establishment of religion, though permitting its exercise; no religious test for public office.)
If you honestly believe this nation was founded on Christianity, you are utterly unfamiliar with not only our founding documents, but also with the attitudes, motivations, and beliefs of the men who wrote them. You have most likely been sold a bill of goods by some pastor or preacher. Try actually investigating and studying the matter with an open mind. Read. (Something other than the Bible.) Use the reasoning powers and intellect that the God you say you believe in gave you.
"To all of you who are atheist...What do you do without faith and hope?"
Simple live in the moment; embrace and appreciate life as the short, finite thing it is; and try to leave my little corner of the world a better place for those who come after me. I don't need faith and hope I deal in reality.
"What do you do with the stagering [sic] evidence of the intricacy and vastness of this amazing universe?"
Why do you assume that intricacy and vastness automatically imply an intelligent creator? You would probably say that God is not created, infinite, simply "is." Why could the universe not possess those same qualities? It is an anthropomorphic bias that assumes that there must be something like a being or spirit or God behind it all.
"What if your [sic] wrong? What if there is more?"
What if YOU are wrong? You say you believe in God which one? There are many gods that have been worshipped through the ages, and are worshipped today. Honestly, chances are the only reason you believe in the Judeo-Christian concept of God and believe Christianity and the Jesus to be "the way" is because you grew up in a country, culture, and probably family in which Christianity is the "default" norm. If you had been born in another part of the world, or in another era, you may well have either never been exposed to Christianity, or viewed IT as a "false religion."
Posted on May 12 at 5:37 p.m.
I have had encounters with the CEF over the years, and a more nefarious, underhanded "Christian" group does not exist.
They know that young children are at the most impressionable stage of life, before they begin to develop any facility for critical thinking. They see it as their mission to "evangelize" kids behind the backs of their "unsaved" parents ("unsaved," BTW, in their parlance including not just Jews or Muslims or non-believers, but Catholics, Mormons, and the more liberal protestant denominations). And, as you point out, they both try to integrate their programs as seamlessly into the school environment as possible (so kids see it as just an "extra period" at school, and the CEF folks as "teachers") and operate under euphemisms and obfuscation to conceal the true proselytizing nature of their organization from parents.
Example: I used to work at the USPS, and one of my duties was examining bulk mailings to insure that they complied with regulations. One of the requirements for a non-profit entity like CEF is that the full, legal name of their organization (as registered with the USPS) must appear in the return address of any mailing to qualify for the extremely cheap, subsidized non-profit rate. You would not believe the arguments I had with CEF folks who flatly refused to put "Child Evangelism Fellowship' on their mail-outs to parents and kids! They would not admit it, but it was clear that they knew that the "E" word would cause a lot of Moms and Dads to just automatically deep-six the thing. (They thrive on deception.) Of course, this lowly former postal clerk would try to reject their mailings, and then they would get waved through with a wink and a nod by my manager who just happened to be an Evangelical Christian himself. (Hmmm...)
Given the young age of their targets, the deceptive practices, and the way they do an end-around on the parents, I'm amazed there haven't been scads of lawsuits filed against them by angry parents whose kids were "converted" without their knowledge or consent. Of course, given the entanglement between church and state that bloomed under Reagan, survived the Clinton years, and grew even more intractable in the Bush era; as well as the deep pockets and sectarian lawyers the Evangelical groups have on call, I'm sure any such suits that have been filed never got far. Apparently, "freedom of religion" includes the right to manipulate young minds by any means necessary, without parental consent or oversight. What a great country!