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Daily News and Prayer is inspired by The Christian Science Monitor, one of the most important (and most underappreciated) newspapers in the world. Posts are usually (but not always) responses to articles in the Monitor about events and trends that call for prayer.

The blog's aim is to help strengthen humanity's collective confidence that we can triumph over even the most deeply entrenched evils, in ourselves and in the world.

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Note on submissions: If you would like to contribute to this blog, I would be happy to consider your submission. It should be 500 words or less, well written and fit the topic. Read several postings to get an idea of the subject matter and tone. It should also fit the audience, which is general, international and non-denominational.

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Friday
Jun122015

Fundamentalism

This blog is about the value of prayer to make corrections in the world. Even if it’s halting and desperate, prayer has a way of focusing the mind on the most important things, revealing hidden problems to handle, new approaches to take, truths before unseen and ways we ourselves can change.

Prayer about some of the issues in the news right now may bring to the surface the problem of fundamentalism. Fundamentalism is a challenge to patient, wise and loving religion, the kind that brings healing. Fundamentalism takes the Bible and other original texts literally and materially. It allows for no possibility of spiritual interpretation. It creates an “us vs. them” mentality – I am more faithful and pure than you – and rejects spiritual growth as a possibility.

Fundamentalism is not the same as fidelity to the spirit and letter of original writings and revelations. That is essential to all religion. But without the possibility of spiritual interpretation, as the founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, noted about the Bible, “that compilation can do no more for mortals than can moonbeams to melt a river of ice.”

When fundamentalism’s ugly side shows itself in our experience or just in the news, a constructive response might be to work harder than ever to demonstrate consistent tenderness and forgiveness toward others, and to dig deeper for our own spiritual growth. Even if we are provoked directly, silence is always better than reaction. This world is too full of goodness not to think that humanity will eventually outgrow the darkness of unforgiving religion.

Christianity, Judaism, Islam and other religions all have their fundamental sides. Right now the most jarring news comes from fundamental Islam. There was a good article about ISIS and fundamentalism – “What ISIS Really Wants” – in March in The Atlantic. And The Christian Science Monitor, for example in Dan Murphy’s blog postings, continues to do a credible and constructive job reporting on the nature and actions of fundamental Islam.

 

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