Cumberland Times-News

March 13, 2013

Ideas of religion include many misconceptions

To the Editor:
Cumberland Times-News

— I would like to reply to Robert E. Surgenor’s letter (“Here are the true convictions of Christians,” March 7 Times-News).

Mr. Surgenor makes so many audacious claims, I won’t be able to address each one, in such a limited space.

Here are a few points I think that Mr. Surgenor should consider before misrepresenting other’s faith, while getting angry that someone questions his own.

I would ask Mr. Surgenor to research the Council of Nicea, which took place 325 AD, under the command of Emperor Constantine the first of Rome.

Before this time Christians existed in a variety of sects; some believed Christ was of a virgin birth, others did not.

Some believed Christ preached re-incarnation, others did not. Some felt Christ had eastern influence, others did not. The list of sects goes on and on.

The council, headed by a Roman Emperor was out to set the record straight, so to speak.

This established many of the principles of Christianity as we view them today.

Since none of us can watch, in real time, footage from the council, we are left to historical record regarding it. What took place during the council, leaves for a lot of unanswered questions.

Such as why, in ancient times, much closer to the life of Christ than present day, was there so much question regarding the divinity of Christ, and why did a certain Roman emperor seek to lay out a foundation, essentially telling the populous what to believe, even setting forth dates for holidays such as Easter.

In the Essene sect, (a group of prehistoric herbalists and mystics) Christ was said to have been a vegetarian, who claimed that the consumption of meat was ungodly.

In fact, the Essene Church preaches that they in fact paved the way for Christ’s arrival, which was not of a virgin birth.

This is based on translations from the Dead Sea Scrolls.

As you can see, Mr. Surgenor, history paints many different pictures of who Christ was, his traditions and teachings.

You select to follow one very narrow viewpoint, which is fine, though it doesn’t make it fact, nor entirely perfect for everyone.

As for your comments on Buddhism, clearly you have zero concept of the faith. Re-incarnation is a part of the tradition, for some, but not all.

Many common misconceptions are made about this particular, “ism” as you call it, such as the idea that all Buddhists are vegetarians.

Entirely not true, as his Holiness the Dali Lama is not.

I can’t dive into the intricacies of this faith, which was founded long before Christianity, though I can select some reading for you.

“The Universe in a Single Atom” by His Holiness outlines why religion and science should work together and not tear each other apart. “My Spiritual Journey” also by His Holiness, documents his life and why, after over 80 years on our planet, and countless hours with spiritual leaders, he has realized that above all else, he is a human being.

You wave Christianity as if it is a be all and end all, to everything, and those of us who are non-Christians just push away the Bible, so that we can accept our own sinful ways.

I leave you with this quote from Albert Einstein,

 “A man’s ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

Jeremy Gosnell

Oakland