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Thu, 16 Dec 2004 11:24:04 -0600
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Ballard, Terry Prof. wrote:
 >>  When I was a teenager I joined the Southern Baptist Church......the
question was posed:  "How many of you would walk out of the church if a
black family walked in?" More than half of the people raised their
hands.... <<

    The Southern Baptists are the largest and most reactionary Christian
denomination in the USA. They split away from the
Baptists in 1845 over slavery, because they thought that slavery was
okay. After the civil war, some Southern Baptists founded the Ku Klux
Klan. Intense hatred against blacks was to remain the trademark of the
Southern Baptists for another century.
    In the 1960s, the Southern Baptists supported segregation laws and
opposed the black civil rights movement. In 1995, the
Southern Baptist Convention issued an apology to all African-Americans
and asked for their forgiveness.  Should they forgive them?  Should we?
    If any should want to find the most Christian group today, one that
really tries to follow the loving message of Jesus, check out the
Quakers.  Not the Steeple house Quakers, they're more like
fundamentalists, but what is called The Meeting house Quakers.  I'm a
member of a forum out of Earlham College, a Meetinghouse Quaker college,
and you wouldn't believe how accepting they are of people that differ
from them (they accepted me, and I'm hell on wheels towards religion,
which they liked).  Thru this forum I've met Buddhist Quakers, New-Age
Quakers, Native-American Quakers, Old Traditional Quakers, Agnostic
Quakers, and even, Atheist Quakers.  And they all get along, and express
love for each other.  I've never seen such a thing like this in
Christianity ever.
    But considering that I was raised a Southern Baptist, who have grown
to their present numbers by getting into fights and splitting the church
down the middle, thus forming two churches (this is not growth in my
book, but a cancer), and then, in my young adult years, joined a much
more strict fundamentalist Christian cult, I'm use to seeing Christians
that can never agree, even with close brothers and sisters in their own
group, people who believe identical to themselves.  So it is refreshing
to me to find such Christians, that even accept non-believers as their
brothers and sisters.
    Now I've come to see that atheists are my brothers and sisters of a
different faith.  If I'm not mistaken, it's takes more faith to not
believe that it does to believe.  Also, from these Quakers I've picked
up on,  "Following the Teacher Within", which is what they all do, even
the non-believers, or atheists. They meet in silence, to seek this
teacher, and it's probably why they can be so accepting of differences.
The Teacher Within is their authority, and they trust that even if their
brother or sister differs from them, they are all following the same
teacher within.  It's a far cry from following The Book, and it reflects
in the love their hearts; love that more closely resembles the teachings
of Jesus.

"If Christ were here there is one thing he would not be -- a Christian."
- MT

"God, so atrocious in the Old Testament, so attractive in the New--the
Jekyl and Hyde of sacred romance."
~ MT - Notebook, 1904

"The two Testaments are interesting, each in its own way. The Old one
gives us a picture of these people's Deity as he was before he got
religion, the other one gives us a picture of him as he appeared afterward."
-- Mark Twain, Letters From the Earth (1909?; published in 1962)
-- Mark Twain, Notebook