Saturday, December 19, 2009

A Letter to My Readers

One of the few things Mao tse Tung ever said that I agree with was "Let a hundred flowers bloom", in which he called for more open discussion in society. Unfortunately, he ploughed his garden of ideological diversity back under in a matter of weeks. Either he couldn't handle the criticism, or the whole affar was a ploy to smoke out opponents.

I believe in airing diversity of opinion for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the hope that exposure to criticism will stave off intellectual flabbiness.

My scope of writing has evolved over almost two years of blogging. Although I am guided by my belief in traditional Judaism, I am nevertheless a secular blogger. On occasion, I will blog on religious themes, but only when I am sure of what I am saying. I do not want to mislead in matters of faith.

I do favour religious freedom, and advocate for it loudly and often. This also includes, where desired freedom from religion. I advocate for the Seven Noahide Laws as a cornerstone of public policy. They are as follows.

1. Not to deny God.

2. Not to blaspheme God.

3. Not to murder.

4. Not to engage in incestuous, adulterous, bestial or homosexual relationships.

5. Not to steal.

6. Not to eat a limb torn from a living animal.

7. To set up courts to ensure obedience to the other six laws.

I believe in a non adversarial relationship for workers and business owners that should sustain both. I refer to this approach as "labour conservatism".

Israel is near and dear to my heart, although it is seldom that I write about Israel, which I believe is the G-d given home of the Jewish people. I believe it should be defended militarily by its people without apology, but more importantly by keeping the faith in deed and belief. I believe that peace will come to the Holy Land through spiritual and physical strength.

I seek to ally on individual issues with those of like mind. I feel I have common cause with religious Christians on some issues such as the definition of marriage and abortion. I feel that family values should include a living wage for workers. I am puzzled that this is not mentioned more frequently in the context of defending the family.

On, where I post almost all of my articles, I stay out of discussions of Christian belief. I am interested in practical collaboration for a better world. Christian theology is not my concern. I applaud anyone who wants to rally believers of their respective faiths or even start lively religious discussions. An open forum such as should offer such choices. There should be (and is) sports coverage as well as articles on popular entertainment. A lot of that I pass over as well, although sports that involve a country or city that interests me is something I will stop to read about.

In blogging, I try to share my curiosity about the world with my readers. Art and international music are important to me. I believe that beauty is democratic. There are superpowers in aesthetic beauty that are not economically dominant. All around us are traces of what was on earth before us. In articles like the one I did on Polish Muslims, I try to connect the present to past history.

Even though Pakistanis and Indians have fought a few wars, Hindi and Urdu are very close linguistically. The same goes for Serbian and Croatian. Even when wars must be fought, there is tragedy to the waste of human life. I try to focus on the threads of commonality in the human tapestry.

My favourite articles are not the most popular. My article on East german art under Communism has gotten sixty two hits. My article on a popular singer in Tajikistan got 163 hits. My father wrote a book that sold less than a thousand copies in 40 years. He is a role model to me. I write about what moves me.

What moved me to articulate a "mission statement" was in reading the articles of Edward Lee. I respect his devotion to his faith and thought that perhaps I should shift to a more (Jewish) religious focus. While there is a place for such a person on, I do not feel qualified to write such articles. One aspect of religious belief that does interest me is that of G-d hiding himself to the point that we have free choice. I think that there is a need for a theology of religious tolerance.

After coming out of Shabbos, with writing and electronic communication set aside for a night and a day, I sometimes step back and evaluate what I am doing and what I hope to accomplish. I owe it to my readers as well as to myself. Thank you.

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