Are you really interested in knowing that I am as appalled by the extremist beliefs as you are, that there are other Muslims who think like me? You say you want us to condemn the extremists' thoughts, but when we do, do you even hear of it?
For the past eight years the Iranian regime has been trying to punish a religious leader, Ayatollah Kazemani Boroujerdi, for the crime of expressing "anti-government views." Boroujerdi is a senior member of the Shia clergy and an advocate for separation of religion and state.
For all of the great work Bill Maher does by adding an unapologetically liberal voice to sensitive topics, his recent heated debate with actor Ben Affleck and author Sam Harris has put Bill at odds with many liberals. The biggest problem with Bill's stance is that he seems content to shout into the wind.
On the day of the Jewish New Year, the President of Indonesia, the country with the world's largest Muslim population, visited Washington, DC and spoke out for religious tolerance.
War and violence based on religious beliefs will not end until religions themselves agree and announce that God would never condone such behavior. Most of the world's religions can't do that, because most of the world's religions teach of a God who is angry, violent and retributive.
In our efforts to defend the Bible, we have gone too far. While strenuously believing in the Bible, we have made ourselves incapable of reading what it actually says. We have domesticated God's revolutionary Word, turning it into a human-made idol.
Here in America, we have a knack for twisting around the meaning of a word and molding it into something we can get a bit more use out of. Americans are good at capitalizing on opportunities. In fact, we founded our country on that exact ideology.
My view of God is simple. If there is a source of the most beautiful energy that we can see and feel which transcends our earthly existence, than the essence of that energy is God. Is the Bible the living word of God? I think it might have been centuries ago but we live in a different time now.
1. You laugh when you read about dinosaur fossils, because you know they are really God's little inside joke to confuse atheists.
Battles over the Pledge have resulted in multiple acrimonious lawsuits and disputes, with no change to the law, only increasing resentment and hostility on both sides of the dispute. It's time to reframe the debate.
In the turmoil of our world, what's at stake? Religious freedom. What's required? Religious tolerance.
This past week the Arab American Institute (AAI) released its third biannual poll of American attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims. Conducted by Zogby Analytics, 1100 likely voters were surveyed nationwide. The results were deeply troubling.
When was the last time you challenged your own beliefs? When I work with couples to design their wedding ceremonies, I always ask them how they were raised in terms of religion and spirituality and where they are now in those terms in their lives.
In today's world, I get inspiration from the American Muslims who abhor all the violence and who host and invite me and Jews and other Christians of my kind to their hyper-peaceful Iftar dinners during Ramadan. These are small beginnings, but they are beginnings.
While we here in America continue the Hobby Lobby debate, there are religious freedom matters with serious life and death consequences elsewhere in the world right now, today, which also deserve your attention.
Too often the church becomes a place where we don't want to alienate anyone. And so, we alienate everyone. And slowly we stop becoming a community of disciples, and we start becoming a museum of a faith community that once was.