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Author: Subject: Why are so many Generation Y (Millenium Generation) abandoning the church?
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[*] posted on 8.18.2010 at 01:36 PM
Why are so many Generation Y (Millenium Generation) abandoning the church?


Clothes, music, sermons, what?



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[*] posted on 8.19.2010 at 03:25 PM


I can't speak for all young people but I can speak for myself.

1. The church is a form of social control.

2. The church is inherently anti-intellectual.

3. Religion is inherently divisive.

4. The church is hostile towards free thinking and prefers blind dogmatism.

5. The church, like all Religions, is inherently misogynistic towards women.

6. The Church, in regards to dealing with the real deal, is a distraction. The church says "pray for that pie in the sky", when in truth if we can get the pie on Earth, then we don't need to be praying as much. Religion deals with life after death. I am concerned with my life as I am currently living. I will deal with death when the time comes.

7. The church is just as manipulative, exploitative as the world outside of it.


I can rant all day, but those are some issues that stick out to me in particular.




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[*] posted on 8.19.2010 at 03:46 PM


^^ Well said. You covered all the key points :yes:



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[*] posted on 8.19.2010 at 04:36 PM


I agree^^.. have you seen/read that article about the black church keeping black women single? That was crazy too..



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[*] posted on 8.19.2010 at 05:02 PM


Based on your many life accomplishments - military, cosmotology school, beauty shop owner, now college degree (btw, :congratulations: ), I don't think you're in Generation Y/Millenium (nor Kinshasaa). It's really the 20 somethings reasoning I was curious about.

Btw, I have to say this. I've always found it curious when people say the church is "anti-intellectual." It always seems so, well, off-base! I mean, does anyone really expect a pastor to stand in the pulpit and debate with, or facilitate a debate between parishoners about the contents of the bible? Religion is based on faith - belief in things unseen - not nuts and bolts things that can be proved one way or the other. :dunno:




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[*] posted on 8.19.2010 at 05:27 PM


Not a salon owner (yet ;) ) But I'm on my way.. and Thank you :ty:

Anyway I think a lot of the youth are geared in this music and crap they see these folks who are making "quick money"...by being foolish. Yet they see the others who may be more into the church and God not doing so well, or taking a bit longer to get there if you will. Social control.. I'm not too sure of, but I do think the people who attend any particular church will eventually inherit the views, ideas, and even ways of their pastor. some good, some bad, others not so muc In regard to it being faith based, though we are supposed to have faith in HIM people as a whole.. not only Gen.Y... lose that faith or lose sighting as they see corruption in the church. Priests touching on lil' boys, pastors out making babies on their wives, etc etc... though this should not sway the belief... it's enough to rock some people and wonder if they are actually believing something or living (trying to) in a manner that is just "unrealistic"... People will be people but ":religious folk" are thought to conduct themselves in a certain manner... I just see it as a multitude of things as to why society as a whole seems to be seemingly moving away from religion.




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[*] posted on 8.20.2010 at 10:29 AM


I would say its because people have misconceptions about the role that religion and the church plays in our lives. I expect that many people will find their spiritual satisfaction in other religions, or they will return to the church once they have the maturity and wisdom to recognize its purpose.
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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 12:16 AM


As I am in my last few months of being in my 20s, and the last regularly attending member of my church in the entire 18-45 cohort, I'll take a stab at this.

Frankly, many Black churches that I have known of (as assistant to the choir director in my church, and as a Black Christian musician of growing prominence in my area, I get around), are failing in two areas:

1. Preaching, presenting, and walking out a full-orbed, vital Christianity

2. Connecting the faith to the life people actually have to live Monday through Saturday

The two are linked, of course. There is also a historical element that I will touch on and then leave; in the youth even of my father, if you were Black, many of the outlets traditionally assigned to "the world" had to take place at church -- public acclaim, career advancement (particularly in music or public speaking or teaching), and just sheer cultural pageantry. But today, there is no need for the church to handle these functions -- desegregation has produced at least the impression that one can get one's ego drives as a Black person satisfied in plenty of other places beside the church.

Let me go back to my two points . . . the Christianity our Christian ancestors practiced in the days when the Spirituals were composed is NOT the Christianity practiced in most churches today. I have just today given a presentation as part of the 7th Annual Negro Spirituals Heritage Day (which is today, August 22), a presentation that highlights the emphasis in the Spirituals on righteousness and justice and responsibility as well as on grace and hope. Righteousness and justice do not allow you to have a mere Sunday-morning-dress-up-collect-the-money-go-home-in-three-hours-and-go-back-to-your-evil-trifling-ways kind of faith, whether you are in the pulpit or in the pew. Our ancestors had to walk out their Christian faith under conditions we cannot even imagine, but they spoke truth to themselves and to the world around them through song, and sustained one another and made it possible for us to have the future we enjoy. That is the kind of vital faith that young people need in these times . . . but most Black churches cannot offer it because many of us older members are NOT walking it out, to say nothing of the institutional hangover we still have from the person who froze church into a form originally -- Emperor Constantine, a sho' 'nuff imperialist if there ever was one. What you say, Black Maverick, about social control has some merit -- all major denominations of organized Christianity in the Western world bear the mark of European imperialism. The Black church perhaps less so, because it has been agent of positive change historically, but that element of the church is in danger of being forgotten, and Constantine's pattern is getting stronger all the time (that said, the other major agent of social control is the mass media -- and I'd take the Black church over that without hesitation). Still, where vital, full-orbed all-week-working Christian faith is in evidence, I have never failed to see young people in attendance and excited about being in attendance, and there are a few examples even in San Francisco.

Leftovers on Point 2 -- I make it a point, in Sunday School, to point out to the children I teach why the lesson for the day matters for Monday, matters for the coming week, matters for their future life, and matters for eternity. The kids, ages 5-15, get totally into it, for at last they have somebody connect the dots -- and I am watching one of my former students now working toward being the SECOND regularly attending person between 18-45. But we older folk have also connected other dots for him; we stay on him about schoolwork, help him where we can with it, point him to resources, and hunt down scholarships -- in other words, we have tried very hard, and are trying very hard now with the ones coming behind him, to show faith in action to meet the challenges of his Monday-Saturday life. When I say "we," I mean only 10-12 people -- but that few can make a difference, even for the Millenium Generation. We are trying to keep the practical vitality of the faith, and the Black church, alive -- and it is having a good effect.

Addendum: Leaving church on Sunday does not mean that the Millenium Generation is necessarily "leaving the faith." I note in my area a trend among people 16-88 (my circle, in a nutshell); you'll find serious-minded African American Christians making time to fellowship in the faith through the week, online and off. In other words, the pre-Constantine model (you'll find it in the book of Acts; a particularly good description is Acts 2:42-47) of meeting daily or at least several times a week in small settings and doing un-heralded, often unpaid for, and sometimes deeply sacrificial good works toward one another is coming back in 21st-century form. This is what sustains me; it is the groove into which I fit "Sunday church," as opposed to "Sunday church" being the primary focus of my Christian expression. I suspect many young people will eventually make this switch in their thinking, and work their way back to church as PART of their Christianity, not the focus. It may take a few years, and as you say, Deep Thinker, many of these youth will find a spiritual home in another faith -- but the point is, young people are leaving a building and a form, but not faith itself.
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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 09:10 AM


Quote:
Originally posted by BronzeBlossom
As I am in my last few months of being in my 20s, and the last regularly attending member of my church in the entire 18-45 cohort, I'll take a stab at this.

Frankly, many Black churches that I have known of (as assistant to the choir director in my church, and as a Black Christian musician of growing prominence in my area, I get around), are failing in two areas:

1. Preaching, presenting, and walking out a full-orbed, vital Christianity

2. Connecting the faith to the life people actually have to live Monday through Saturday

The two are linked, of course. There is also a historical element that I will touch on and then leave; in the youth even of my father, if you were Black, many of the outlets traditionally assigned to "the world" had to take place at church -- public acclaim, career advancement (particularly in music or public speaking or teaching), and just sheer cultural pageantry. But today, there is no need for the church to handle these functions -- desegregation has produced at least the impression that one can get one's ego drives as a Black person satisfied in plenty of other places beside the church.

Let me go back to my two points . . . the Christianity our Christian ancestors practiced in the days when the Spirituals were composed is NOT the Christianity practiced in most churches today. I have just today given a presentation as part of the 7th Annual Negro Spirituals Heritage Day (which is today, August 22), a presentation that highlights the emphasis in the Spirituals on righteousness and justice and responsibility as well as on grace and hope. Righteousness and justice do not allow you to have a mere Sunday-morning-dress-up-collect-the-money-go-home-in-three-hours-and-go-back-to-your-evil-trifling-ways kind of faith, whether you are in the pulpit or in the pew. Our ancestors had to walk out their Christian faith under conditions we cannot even imagine, but they spoke truth to themselves and to the world around them through song, and sustained one another and made it possible for us to have the future we enjoy. That is the kind of vital faith that young people need in these times . . . but most Black churches cannot offer it because many of us older members are NOT walking it out, to say nothing of the institutional hangover we still have from the person who froze church into a form originally -- Emperor Constantine, a sho' 'nuff imperialist if there ever was one. What you say, Black Maverick, about social control has some merit -- all major denominations of organized Christianity in the Western world bear the mark of European imperialism. The Black church perhaps less so, because it has been agent of positive change historically, but that element of the church is in danger of being forgotten, and Constantine's pattern is getting stronger all the time (that said, the other major agent of social control is the mass media -- and I'd take the Black church over that without hesitation). Still, where vital, full-orbed all-week-working Christian faith is in evidence, I have never failed to see young people in attendance and excited about being in attendance, and there are a few examples even in San Francisco.

Leftovers on Point 2 -- I make it a point, in Sunday School, to point out to the children I teach why the lesson for the day matters for Monday, matters for the coming week, matters for their future life, and matters for eternity. The kids, ages 5-15, get totally into it, for at last they have somebody connect the dots -- and I am watching one of my former students now working toward being the SECOND regularly attending person between 18-45. But we older folk have also connected other dots for him; we stay on him about schoolwork, help him where we can with it, point him to resources, and hunt down scholarships -- in other words, we have tried very hard, and are trying very hard now with the ones coming behind him, to show faith in action to meet the challenges of his Monday-Saturday life. When I say "we," I mean only 10-12 people -- but that few can make a difference, even for the Millenium Generation. We are trying to keep the practical vitality of the faith, and the Black church, alive -- and it is having a good effect.

Addendum: Leaving church on Sunday does not mean that the Millenium Generation is necessarily "leaving the faith." I note in my area a trend among people 16-88 (my circle, in a nutshell); you'll find serious-minded African American Christians making time to fellowship in the faith through the week, online and off. In other words, the pre-Constantine model (you'll find it in the book of Acts; a particularly good description is Acts 2:42-47) of meeting daily or at least several times a week in small settings and doing un-heralded, often unpaid for, and sometimes deeply sacrificial good works toward one another is coming back in 21st-century form. This is what sustains me; it is the groove into which I fit "Sunday church," as opposed to "Sunday church" being the primary focus of my Christian expression. I suspect many young people will eventually make this switch in their thinking, and work their way back to church as PART of their Christianity, not the focus. It may take a few years, and as you say, Deep Thinker, many of these youth will find a spiritual home in another faith -- but the point is, young people are leaving a building and a form, but not faith itself.
I can agree with this post for the most part. I will reply with more later but I am busy atm.



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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 11:15 AM


As ever, thoughtful, insightful, meaty observations from Deep Thinker and Bronze Blossom. In relation to DT's, I must say, I did not mean solely the Christian church. All religions and denominations attendance in the U.S. is at a historic low.

Interestingly, however, BB's church experience/activities is very similar to my own church. As I only recented joined, I was surprised by her post.... and heartened.... to see there are others who carry out similar down home traditions. Youth is elevated in my church - many activities, even a ministry is dedicated to the youth of the congregation (maybe 4... or more :dunno: ). In my church, one has to a member for at least a year and undergo a criminal background check to work in any ministries that serve children and young adults - which I found shocking, but approve of greatly. Just a couple weeks ago, a Comedy Show was performed where 75% of the "acts" were elementary and high school students performing dramatic skits, African and modern dance, drill team, etc. This performance was attended by over 2,000 spectators, mostly adult and all of us, black. It lasted for, I presume, about 3 hours ("presume" because I felt it was a misnomer - a "little" adult comedy, mostly children performing, and after an hour and a half of clapping and whooping it up in support of their efforts, I left; I have no minor children and I felt on the bad end of 'bait and switch' :ummm: . Before I left, however, I did leave a donation with one of the ushers for the scholarship being awarded to one of the kids in the housing project next door to the church at the end of the Show).

What I liked about the Show was the feeling/remembrance of when I was in elementary school and our parents and other neighborhood adults would come to our "variety" shows which showcased professional acts (as opposed to mainly children). It was a highlight of the school year. I felt that same spirit of comaraderie with the community, that same light-heartedness and feeling of community - a whole community of differing ages enjoying the same "G" entertainment.

Nonetheless, I wrote in the Summer Soul Superthread a passage from a young minister about music, to wit: "We are one of the first generations where the church didn't heavily influence the music we grew up listening to. It's now popular culture that has a greater influence on the music of the church." This is why I asked, "is it the music?" Aretha, Sam Cooke, even Whitney came out of the church. It was before their respective congregations that they honed their music, refined their styles. It was from their deep belief in God that the resonance and, well, soul in their voices and delivery came from - the resonance, timber, and.... SOUL!.... was simply transferred from Gospel to R&B. Now, however, it sometimes seems to be the "world" that is dictating, or influencing, the music played in the church. :dunno:

Another thing this minister (Rev. Tim Lee) said that I think may have bearing, and is certainly food for thought:

Quote:


I can understand many of my peers who are tired of "church as usual." I can sympathize with their desire to take a break from the weekly routine of going to church to sit in the pew for a few hours, often fighting sleep. While we are not the only generation to feel this way, we are unique in a few ways. We are one of the first generations where no significant movement for social progress has been led by the church. Before his death, Michale Jackson said he planned to do his final series of concerts so that his children could see him perform. They were not old enough to have witnessed him in his heyday. Similarly, our generation has not seen the glory of the church in action.



I think the above goes to a search for meaning and relevance. Rev. Lee's words also go to DT's opinion about black youth finding same in other religions. He talked questions on the meaning of life, e.g., why am I here? What will happen when I die? He also said that Gen. Y/Milliniums are willing to cross religious lines in their quest to find life answers because even though the answers the church, via the bible, provides are truthful, for many they come off as inadequate because they do not satisfy the "quest.," eg, where do "I" fit in?

I'll think on this for a minute and come back later, basically to questions raised in DT's post. :tu:




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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 12:46 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Tea_Honey
As ever, thoughtful, insightful, meaty observations from Deep Thinker and Bronze Blossom. In relation to DT's, I must say, I did not mean solely the Christian church. All religions and denominations attendance in the U.S. is at a historic low.


Thanks Tea. I agree with the last sentence (in the above quote) but I think that a conversation about the church specifically is important because I find that a person's reason for leaving the mosque, for example, is not going to be the same reason a person leaves the church. In other words, the seven points that Black Maverick mentioned are often discussed in terms of the church but rarely do I hear them used as reasons to leave Buddhism or Islam or the Yoruba tradition. So whereas a person may say "religion is mind control" they will have nothing against studying and practicing Eastern or Afrikan faiths but they will not go back to Christianity. I myself had to get involved in another religion before I could understand and respect the church for what it is and what it has contributed and is contributing to our people. Which doesn't mean I want to come back to the church ;) but I do have a different sense of wisdom and maturity about it that I was lacking when I left ten years ago.

I look forward to hearing the questions that you are planning to pose to me and/or the group. :)
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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 06:53 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by Black Maverick
I can't speak for all young people but I can speak for myself.

1. The church is a form of social control.

2. The church is inherently anti-intellectual.

3. Religion is inherently divisive.

4. The church is hostile towards free thinking and prefers blind dogmatism.

5. The church, like all Religions, is inherently misogynistic towards women.

6. The Church, in regards to dealing with the real deal, is a distraction. The church says "pray for that pie in the sky", when in truth if we can get the pie on Earth, then we don't need to be praying as much. Religion deals with life after death. I am concerned with my life as I am currently living. I will deal with death when the time comes.

7. The church is just as manipulative, exploitative as the world outside of it.


I can rant all day, but those are some issues that stick out to me in particular.


I think you read my mind .... lol
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[*] posted on 8.23.2010 at 08:24 PM


Quote:
Originally posted by deep_thinker
Quote:
Originally posted by Tea_Honey
As ever, thoughtful, insightful, meaty observations from Deep Thinker and Bronze Blossom. In relation to DT's, I must say, I did not mean solely the Christian church. All religions and denominations attendance in the U.S. is at a historic low.


Thanks Tea. I agree with the last sentence (in the above quote) but I think that a conversation about the church specifically is important because I find that a person's reason for leaving the mosque, for example, is not going to be the same reason a person leaves the church. In other words, the seven points that Black Maverick mentioned are often discussed in terms of the church but rarely do I hear them used as reasons to leave Buddhism or Islam or the Yoruba tradition. So whereas a person may say "religion is mind control" they will have nothing against studying and practicing Eastern or Afrikan faiths but they will not go back to Christianity. I myself had to get involved in another religion before I could understand and respect the church for what it is and what it has contributed and is contributing to our people. Which doesn't mean I want to come back to the church ;) but I do have a different sense of wisdom and maturity about it that I was lacking when I left ten years ago.

I look forward to hearing the questions that you are planning to pose to me and/or the group. :)


First off, you've raised a question..... If the youth of non-Christian religions are leaving their church, and it is not for the same reasons as Christians..... what are their reasons? Normally when someone leaves the faith of their fathers, it is because they do not feel those beliefs or tenets are "relevant" to their lives. In what ways are those of non-Christian faiths finding their religions ir-relevant?

I'm thinking those of your generation prolly are at the ripe age for a search for not only relevance, but meaning (the "why am I here?" soul-searching questions). Looking for someone or some place (the church) to guide them on this 'unfamiliar' quest that they must take ALONE, they're in need of someone/thing to point them to their "better" selves, how to maximize their potential and make an impact where they are, where they stand. I'm thinking many pastors either don't know this, or if they do, they don't know how to address this, really, human need.

That said, it's one of the reasons I am so glad I found my current church home. I had thought such pastors, such congregations were simply of the past. For ex., my mother always used to say that our pastor was NOT a preacher; "he's a teacher." In order to stay viable and of USE to today's questing youth, pastors need to preach not only salvation, but how to make it in the WORLD! (a teacher, as well as a preacher). Fortunately for me, I've found such a church where EVERY sermon is taken directly from the bible.... and its lessons applied to black life. My pastor not only gives you God's Word, but he applies the MILLENIA-old teachings in the bible to today's world.

Ex., Sunday he preached about some ship departing in the bible that was wrecked (forget the verses). Point is he applied it to the lives of young bruthas and sistahs today, who like those ships, were loaded with promise of returning great wealth, but are shipwrecked by today's society before they can even get started in life. Biblical parables and stories come alive, relevant to the congregation when the pastor is skillful with words and analogies to the lives - their hopes, dreams, disappointments.... and in the case of those the elders watched/care-taked, whose lives, budding with promise were cut off before they even got started, frustrations. And for those like myself, bitter frustration.

For the youth who are interested in the day-to-day nuts and bolts of living - fashion, diet, dance, getting a job, the first job, a promotion on the job, etc. - the church needs to address these real-world needs as well as the spiritual and mysteries. My church (I'm sounding like a new convert, I know :hehe: ) and from what she wrote, Bronze Blossom's church, seek to address these needs. Everyone needs a place to be someone, to be valued and accepted, and if the best and ONLY thing you can do is dance, then the church should have a program/ministry that promotes and/or showcases your dancing! Which is why I clapped and whoop-de-doed over, well the dancing was good, but those dramatic skits..... :ummm:

Still if no one praises you, why should you even attempt to get better? And if no one appreciates at the least, your efforts to entertain them enough to clap, well, depending on your psyche, you might be crushed. That is, your ship filled with promise of returning treasure might be dry-docked.

But that's me. I'm only guessing. An educated guess because I can remember much of what I felt at ages 10, 20, 25, etc to 29, and I know (now!) that's what I yearned for. I needed my real world concerns addressed as well as my spiritual. That I got them both in one place, a nurturing, accepting place, was a blessing.




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[*] posted on 8.24.2010 at 01:03 AM


Thank you, Tea -- let me take up your music angle, since music is one of my two great loves (writing is of course the other one).

Yes, church music now is being led by secular music, instead of the other way around. It is symptom of a much larger problem, part of which Rev. Tim Lee pointed out. Church is the one place in which this should be front and central for our people:

Deuteronomy 28:13 -- And the LORD shall make thee the head, and not the tail; and thou shalt be above only, and thou shalt not be beneath, if that thou hearken to the commandments of the LORD thy God, which I command this day, to observe and do them.

The whole mindset of righteousness, justice, and love mindset only on Sunday simply will not cut the mustard in producing a people that are ready to handle the responsibility of being in the vanguard, not bringing up the rear. And, in the area of music, this basically means that our church style is now being dictated by people that have been poisoning our communities with their junk. Much of gospel music today is without any moral or intellectual substance -- the record companies are pumping it out with the same lack of concern for us with which they pump out the secular counterparts. And, if the church is trying so hard to be like the world in the area of music, why would a sensible young person choose that which is bringing up the rear over what is ahead? The chase of the secular sound makes it seem like the secular music is superior -- why take the imitation, which is usually stripped of anything that actually deals with that Monday-Saturday life, when you could spend those same hours listening to the original that, however poorly, touches on the issues of 6/7 of the week?

In the area of music -- and this is an area in which I personally am composing, arranging, and trying to make a difference -- the Black church needs to get bold enough to offer a strong alternative both in form and content. Beat does not have to be an issue -- you can take a Spiritual or a new composition, put it on those old African rhythms, and make something that will arrest the attention of anyone with ears to hear, hands to clap, hips to slap, and feet to stomp. Again, it is a question of regaining the position -- the head, and not the tail.

I predict that a local assembly with just two or three musicians that would make the spiritual commitment necessary to get the music up to the level I describe would also be a local assembly that might eventually be in the vanguard on a lot of other things . . . and I fully expect that I will see my prediction worked out. Even in my own church, I can see that my limited ability to select music that is of doctrinal and practical application (in addition to having the "right sound" in terms of Africanity) is having an effect on the outlook of the church at large, and I am bending the ears of other directors both directly and by offering music through my publishing company. I am one person . . . but music has an outsized effect on what people grasp as the substance of their faith. Rectify that area, and people's perception -- young and old -- of the relevance of their faith to their lives might indeed be greatly strengthened. Leave that area in the hands of our enemies -- for again, much of gospel music is now produced by the same companies that are pumping poison onto the airwaves -- and it may not be possible to change the situation for the better.

Addendum: If one considers that it is much more difficult to commercialize the expressions of Islam and the various kinds of Afrikan spirituality, one might imagine that one of the great weaknesses of the Christian expression of the Black church-- the corruption of the music -- has no analog in these other faiths. That may explain part of the mystery of why some who find the Black church "anti-intellectual" feel more comfortable in the "hard-to-commercialize" faiths.
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Mood: No Mood

[*] posted on 8.24.2010 at 03:58 AM


Perhaps because thinking has entered the arena. Religion is based upon belief - not thinking. That is why so many ridiculous bible fables are allowed to be taken as truth.



"My philosophy is such that I am not
going to vote against the oppressed.
I have been oppressed, and so I am
always going to have a vote for the oppressed,
regardless of whether that oppressed is black
or white or yellow or the people of the Middle East,
or what. I have that feeling."

- Septima Clark
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