I may choose to ignore people who comment anonymously. I choose never to be anonymous online myself. I have little tolerance for this behavior.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Radio Host Delilah and the Controversy Over her Kid's School

Radio host Delilah has removed her children from attending Crosspoint Academy. I'll try and quote her reasons from the article:

“I would like to say that I am merely ‘deeply concerned’ about a recent addition to the school’s teaching philosophy, but instead, I am forced to admit I am actually HORRIFIED by the recent addition of a book by Mormon author Steven (sic) Covey,” she wrote in a Nov. 24 open letter to Crosspoint parents.

“He intends to indoctrinate the world with his theology by wiring it in a way that people can accept,” she said.

If the article can be relied on to be accurate, Delilah is reacting to the fact that Covey wrote the materials that are going to be used as materials in her children's school. She does not attack anything in the materials as being inconsistent with Christian faith. In fact, there are not any quotes detailing what she finds as objectionable. It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction to Covey himself and his religion rather than the materials. She appears to assume that because Covey wrote them they are "Mormon" beliefs and not "Christian" beliefs as if the two beliefs systems are separate and inconsistent. I do not believe they are.

If this assumption on my part is accurate then I think Delilah is prejudiced in the worst sense. If I were a parent, I would examine the beliefs that were being taught rather than the person that wrote them. I have embraced many ideas from members of other faiths such as the late Richard John Neuhaus. From what I have learned, Neuhas did not like Mormons, but some Mormon leaders such as M. Russell Ballard, Dallin H. Oaks and Alexander B. Morrison have quoted from Neuhaus' ideas.

A few clues in the article suggest Delilah's concerns go further than Covey.

Delilah said smaller issues have led her to believe Crosspoint is trying to rebrand itself to attract families familiar and comfortable with Covey, but not perhaps with Christianity. A plaque with the Ten Commandments was recently moved from a prominent spot in the school’s main hallway to a not-so-prominent classroom. A “Seven Habits” poster advocating meditation was put up at Crosspoint, with a Bible verse taped to it “as if to make Eastern religion acceptable to the Christian,” Delilah wrote in her Nov. 24 letter.

“They even changed the school’s name to take the Lord’s name out,” she said.

Delilah seems to assume that Covey's ideas are inconsistent with Christianity but does not go into any details. I have to wonder if she would have reacted to the ideas and materials if she read them without knowing who the author was. Again, I find this to be bigotry.


Monday, December 14, 2009

NDE's (Near Death Experiences) and the Church

A December 9, 2009 article in the Christian Science Monitor by Dinesh D'Souza caught my eye. Entitled "Life after death: What does the evidence show? D'Souza reflects on these experiences. I heard Mr. D'Souza speak once at Virginia Tech when I was a Ph.D. student. He seems to have wide interests. He's written on a number of different topics. In this article, he states the following:

"Atheists who deny both God and an afterlife may be vastly outnumbered, but they think they occupy the intellectual high ground on this question. That's because religious believers typically affirm the afterlife on the basis of faith, while atheists regard themselves as denying it on the basis of science and reason."
I have followed some of the writings on people who have technically died and then returned to life with extraordinary descriptions of what they have experienced. I've read some of Raymond Moody's work, Return From Tomorrow by George Richie, as well as Mormon collections of these experiences including Life Everlasting by Duane Crowther.

As I was going through these materials I naturally evaluated them by my secular self as well as my religious self. One story really stands out in my mind as significant proof. I don't remember which item it was in but I think it was one of Moody's books. The person who related the N.D.E. was a patient that had died in the hospital while being worked on by a doctor. After being revived, the person not only related experiencing an afterlife but could also relate what was said in the operating room by medical personnel, what happened in the emergency room, described the contents of the room, as well as the concerns by the doctor about an non-hospital situation where he had lent a hand. This incident had occurred earlier in the day, I think, while the doctor was commuting to work. He was concerned that he may be sued for it because of some legal loop holes in liability law (Good Samaritan Laws generally fix these problems). Besides relating everything going on around her body in the hospital and experiencing the afterlife, the author pointed out that the patient had read the doctor's mind.

N.D.E.'s are consistent with what little we know of the afterlife from church leaders and modern revelations to prophets.

Exposure to Luxury Can Affect Us

One of my listserv's produced a link to a working paper posted on a Harvard Business School site: The Devil Wears Prada? Effects of Exposure to Luxury Goods on Cognition and Decision Making. You can find it at this address: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/6317.html

"Although the concept of luxury has been widely discussed in social theories and marketing research, relatively little research has directly examined the psychological consequences of exposure to luxury goods. This paper demonstrates that exposure to luxury goods increases individuals' propensity to prioritize self-interests over others' interests, influencing the decisions they make."

I don't think people like to talk about subjects like this. Most of us don't want to admit that our coveting may actually affect our thinking and behavior towards others, but research suggests that it does just that.

Our coveting probably affects others as much as it does ourselves and not in good ways.