What a letdown. That’s such a comical explanation that it’s appropriate to respond by quoting Bugs Bunny: “What a maroon.”
Amazingly, Levy is serious.
"Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with ‘We reap what we sow.' Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell."
Not really. There’s no connection. Residents of many countries, including the U.S.A., have decided to ignore the discredited claims of their elders and latch onto their own beliefs. Have you forgotten that Sweden has forsworn religion and seems to be doing just fine? The same is true for South Korea and a host of other countries where today’s organized religions are dying.
By the way, concern about the new generation is hardly new. Every generation feels the one that follows may be too dissolute. Society changes. That’s just the way it is. It has nothing to do with believing in God or atheism. It has to do with rejecting the outmoded standards of predecessors.
Besides, you are wrong. This country is actually safer than ever. According to the most recent report on crime, the rate for serious crimes, like murder rape and assault, have dropped dramatically in the last 20 years and are continuing to fall. Do you really think people who lived through the Depression and then World War II would actually think our era is worse?
Bathed in technology and rekindled hopes for the future, we are enjoying the high point of human existence.
Not to Levy, of course. All he can think about are those damned atheists ruining everything.
He wrote: I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...
He added that:
I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
He is, of course, completely absurd.
In the first place, more than 90 percent of Americans still believe in God. Nobody is pushing atheism. Instead, people are deserting organized religion. If that frosts Levy, just wait until the Tea Party kamikaze elected in the last election move into office. They are on record firmly rejecting any idea of religious equality.
Consider this typical comment issued by Gary Potter, president of Catholics for Christian Political Action as one example:
"When the Christian majority takes over this country, there will be no satanic churches, no more free distribution of pornography, no more talk of rights for homosexuals. After the Christian majority takes control, pluralism will be seen as immoral and evil and the state will not permit anybody the right to practice evil."
That sure sounds tolerant, doesn’t it? After all, who will define "evil?" Why open-minded Gary Potter, of course. Levy, who is Jewish, has to know from history what that kind of attitude that leads to.
As for O’Hare, she’s been dead for almost 20 years. Can’t you find someone more plausible to blame? After all, she was simply trying to stop believers from cramming religion down her throat. She courageously stood up and protested at a time when no one would. Today, she has a lot of company, including Federal courts.
For example, in one case involving prayers at a public meeting, Federal Judge David Hamilton wrote that visiting clergy:
...do not have a First Amendment right....to use an official platform like the Speaker's podium....to express their own religious faiths....If the Speaker chooses to continue to permit nonsectarian prayers as part of the official proceedings, he shall advise all persons offering such prayers...that the prayers must be non-sectarian and must not be used to proselytize or advance any one faith or belief or to disparage any other faith or belief....The prayers should not use Christ's name or title or any other denominational appeal.
That’s that darn Freedom of Religion idea poking its clauses into the public business.
As for O’Hare, in her day she was called the “most hated woman in America,” vilified and abused for her atheistic beliefs – no hint of religious freedom for her – and murdered in 1995 for money. Her efforts, however, encouraged others. For example, Catholic and Mormon families successfully sued in Texas to end compulsory prayers at football games. Atheists all, no doubt.
Sorry, Steve. Despite your focus on atheists, the issue affects people of all beliefs. In fact, freedom of religion became an integral part of the rights of American citizens because legislators saw how a dominant religion could abuse other faiths. In fact, O’Hare had a lot of company in her day and throughout American history, too.
Your ignorance on this is appalling.
Our big problems have nothing to do with expressing belief in outmoded and nonsensical religious precepts, but on the very real dangers from Global Warming, religious wars like those in the Middle East and the failure to address these encroaching storms realistically.
Go ahead and blame atheists, even though there’s been no decline in the belief in God. Maybe that will make you happy. However, it won’t solve anything. Believers and nonbelievers alike will be caught up in the coming maelstrom.
Long-time religious historian Bill Lazarus regularly writes about religion and religious history. He also speaks at various religious organizations throughout Florida. You can reach him at www.williamplazarus.net. He is the author of the famed Unauthorized Biography of Nostradamus; The Last Testament of Simon Peter; The Gospel Truth: Where Did the Gospel Writers Get Their Information; Noel: The Lore and Tradition of Christmas Carols; and Dummies Guide to Comparative Religion. His books are available on Amazon.com, Kindle, bookstores and via various publishers. He can also be followed on Twitter.
You can enroll in his on-line class, Comparative Religion for Dummies, at http://www.udemy.com/comparative-religion-for-dummies/?promote=1
Steve Levy’s Comments:
The following was written by Steven Levy and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.
I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from, that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution and I don't like it being shoved down my throat...
Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship celebrities and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where these celebrities came from and where the America we knew went to.
In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.
In light of recent events... terrorists attack, school shootings, etc.. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found a few years ago) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school... The Bible says thou shalt not kill; thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.
Then Dr. Steven Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave, because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about.. And we said okay..
Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.
Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with We reap what we sow.'
Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire, but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.
Are you laughing yet?
Pass it on if you think it has merit.
If not, then just discard it... no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don't sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.