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February 23, 2007

God's the supervisor



To the editor:

In response to: "did God take the day off?"

I do not claim to be formally educated in religion. I can't even say that I have a regular seat at church on Sunday. I'm in that cross section of society who may attend a wedding or a funeral, Christmas and Easter services throughout the year. I mean no disrespect by this; it's just the way it is.

I have however, over the years through what education and teachings that have been passed on to me, established my beliefs and where my faith lies.

I do believe in God and absolutely accept Jesus Christ as our Savior. These beliefs and ideals are based on Faith not facts. There is too much conjecture and conflicting arguments regarding 'theory of evolution' vs. 'creative design'. So, while I keep an open mind as to both sides, I've picked my team and am going to stick with it!

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I have Faith, that what is proclaimed in the bible can be believed.

I have Faith, that there is an after-life.

I have Faith, that within all the varied religions of the world and their respective ideals and traditions that we all share the underlying concept that, PEOPLE ARE GOOD. Within all things, for there to be good, there must also be the opposite.

The opposite would of course be EVIL. It is evil or bad people that create terror in our lives, who cause such catastrophic events as 911 or the bombing in Oklahoma City.

I empathize with everyone who's felt the pain of losing a loved one. I've experienced that feeling more than once in my life and it always hurts. I , we, experience that feeling daily just by reading the paper or watching the news. I am sincerely saddened by it. I am often enraged by it, but I don't look at it like, "God wasn't there for them" or," how could God let that happen?" I do not believe God to practice 'individual selection' and to make a change in one's situation while overlooking another's. I do not totally discount the possibility of 'divine intervention', I just feel that through prayer and support, that there is a healing power all its own and that we generate and share that power through love and devotion to each other.

"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."

I believe his job is done. God gave to us this very existence and this incredible, wondrous world in which we live. The future of this world and of mankind is pretty much, up to us now. So far, I for one am not impressed with the progress that we've made.

We are a possessive and materialistic society and more emphasis needs to be placed on common decency, education for our children, supporting all races and communities of people to ensure a healthy and happy quality of life. To totally eliminate the "have-nots." To have a better understanding of the "cause and effect" we have on this planet and to make changes now to make things better.

God never takes a day off. He's a supervisor.

Stanley Margeson
Sharpsburg




Digging deeper into Islam



To the editor:

On Jan. 16, SV Yumlu responded to my earlier letter "By all means, speak out about the war" and was particularly concerned about my statement, "Sept. 11, 2001, taught us that Islam is not a religion of peace. Mohammed's teaching and the Koran called for the world to be converted to Islam, by the sword if necessary." SV Yumlu challenges me to show where I found this information in the Koran.

Koran, Sura 9 is generally known as the war chapter (others also demonstrate the coercive nature of Islam). But it is not so simple as to just quote this or that verse because Islamic law has evolved through interpretation of the other foundational documents of Islam---the Hadith and the Sira-- along with the Koran.

The proof really is in the evolution of the Salafist (fundamentalist) strain of Islam and the role Jihad (or holy war) plays in the branch of Islam that now holds this religion in its clutches. This school of thought was not created out of thin air. And I am anxious (and hopeful) for SV Yumlu to show me that these Islamic sects are counter to Koranic teaching.

Briefly, the Salafist movement of Islam includes the Wahabies of Saudi Arabia (Osama Bin Laden and Al Qaeda are from this branch of Islam ). Lest the reader thinks we Americans are somehow to blame for creating militant Islam, the Wahabist sect came into being in the early 1700's before there was ever a United States of America.

Another militant member sect of Salafi Islam is the Muslim Brotherhood of Egypt founded in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna during a time when we in America were pretty busy with the Great Depression. Al-Banna wrote a list of what Islam is, "Islam is a faith and worship...a religion and a state....It is a Koran and a sword."

A separate strain of Islam but with similar Jihadist goals is the Khumeinists (Iran).

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