Readers Write: True religion seeks peace; rejecting sensational pictures

Letters to the Editor for September 22, 2014 weekly magazine:

Green: Spiritual leaders should call for peace not war.

Price: Clicking on sensational pictures shapes our consciousness and our world.

Hassan Ammar/AP/File
Muslim pilgrim prays as visits the Hiraa cave, at the top of Noor Mountain on the outskirts of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, Nov. 2, 2011. According to tradition, Islam's Prophet Mohammed received his first message to preach Islam while he was praying in the cave.

True religion seeks peace, not war

Regarding the Sept. 15 editorial “Defeat of Islamic State lies in rejecting piety at gunpoint”: I agree that “[t]he long history of spreading a faith by the sword – which includes Christianity – must end.” But the editorial needs to go further. It needs to call on religious leaders throughout the world, especially Christian, Islamic, Jewish, Hindu, and Buddhist, to tell their followers that their true religion is a religion seeking peace, not war. 

It should also honor the smaller religions, and those who do not follow an organized religion, and ask them to join this intent to seek peaceful resolution of disputes and conflict.

Anthony T. Green
Lacey, Wash.

Rejecting sensational pictures

Thank you for the Sept. 15 editorial “When sensational images are only a click away.” It’s clear in today’s world of easy choices that better discernment is needed to live better lives. I appreciate the reminder that we have a moral choice to protect ourselves from mental images no matter where they appear. We seem to live in a world where we are losing our ability to handle all the images that are foisted onto us. 

I agree wholeheartedly with author Susie Linfield’s observation mentioned in the editorial that we are being swept up against our will, surrendering to images and abandoning ourselves to them. We desperately need to assert our autonomy from malicious, harmful, salacious, and less-than-perfect images. We need to assert our ability for a higher presence of mind. We shape the world with what we click on in our consciousness as well as on the computer. Thinking is a public act. 

The founder of The Christian Science Monitor, Mary Baker Eddy, writes in her book “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures”: “Stand porter at the door of thought” (p. 392). If we do not, we are running the risk of becoming indecisive and ineffectual. 

Steven Price
San Rafael, Calif.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.