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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Multiplicity vs. Polytheism

One of the common things we tend to do today is interchange multiplicity with polytheism. Especially when dealing with Hinduism, we tend to think of the 330 billion deities as a form of polytheism. However, upon taking a course on Hinduism, I learned a new term that explains for a vast array of deities ranging from male to female, elephant-headed to six headed, and destroyer to preserver: multiplicity. Dictionary.com does a fairly decent job at defining the term; the state of being multiple. How does this vary from polytheism? How does this apply to Christianity?

Kali
 A wide approach to address Hinduism's use of the term multiplicity is to look at the Six Aspects of Our World. In short they are: We live in 1) A multiple world that includes galaxies, tiers, and cylces, 2) a moral world in which karma is inexorable, 3) a middling world that will never replace paradise as the spirit's destination, 4) a world in which maya exists, 5) a gymnasium for developing spiritual capacities i.e. "a vale for soul-making", and finally 6) a world in which lila, the play of the divine in its cosmic dance, exists. (Huston Smith, Illustrated World's Religions.) The immediate reason for displaying these six aspects is to point out that the fundamental message of Hinduism's perception of our world, while it was founded in the East well before Abram and Sarai were renamed as Abraham and Sarah, holds many of Christianity's similar perceptions. But simply put by Professor Jeaneane Fowler of the University of Wales College: “The relationship between the many manifest deities and the unmanifest Brahman is rather like that between the sun and its rays. We cannot experience the sun itself but we can experience its rays and the qualities, which those rays have." Brahman would be the equivalent of the Trinity complete, all Three in One would compose Brahman. However, broken down into three parts, equivalent to the Trinity's Three Persons, Brahma is the deity associated as Creator, Vishnu as Preserver, and Shiva as Destroyer. I would personally argue that within these three deities, the remaining 330 billion (minus three) deities originate. How is that possible? And why isn't this referred to as polytheism?
Devi
The term avatar explains how the number of deities is capable of jumping to a whopping 330 billion. Vishnu alone has ten avatars in which the Eighth Avatar is Krishna (from which Krishnaism branches off from,) and the Ninth Avatar is commonly believed to be the Buddha. With each deity springs up a female consort, wife, or counterpart that ultimately pertains to an aspect or characteristic of the primal deity. Why do these deities exist? Certain aspects are portrayed through a womanly figure rather than a male deity. This can't be argued because how should a male deity embody maternal characterstics that figures like Durga, who I consider to be a midway point between Kali and Parvati in certain aspects. While those three names are indeed inclusive of three separate persons, they all fall under Devi, the ultimate goddess mother, loosely identified with being the female counterpart of Brahma.
Trinity
But immediately, I feel like my train of thought has been lost while trying to correlate the similarities between gods and goddesses. Hindu art especially helps to depict the aspects among deities. To use Kali, Durga, and Parvati again, Kali is always depicted as the embodiment of "tough maternal love" in which she chops off the heads of ignorance from her devotees. Durga is a more balanced figure that is powerful and stern at times, but is not associated with violence, but does not have a soft side like Parvati. Parvati retains qualities that which a newborn child would be treated with instead of bloody acts like Kali. While Durga falls somewhere in between, these three goddesses depict just a few aspects that which Brahman retains.
I find this similar to Christianity embracing their God as omnipotent, omniscient, and omnipresent. Brahma, the Creator deity consequently is omnipotent. Vishnu, omniscient, and Shiva as omnipresent because where does death not reach? This isn't to ignore the differences between 330 billion versus 3. However, both 330 billion and 3 boil into one. The means by which each religion explains how this is possible relates through multiplicity, rather than polytheism because many gods would deny the fact that each deity or person (of the Trinity) is not absorbed by Brahman or the Trinity, that each god is a separate outlier. Catholicism is quick to define the Trinity as the Christian Mystery: "In the Symbol of the faith the Church confesses the mystery of the Holy Trinity and of the plan of God's "good pleasure" for all creation: the Father accomplishes the "mystery of his will" by giving his beloved Son and his Holy Spirit for the salvation of the world and for the glory of his name." (CCC 1066, Ephesians 1:9.) This echoes Hinduism's simple structure of Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer. What both religions share is what fills the spaces in between.

I hope to get a Part 2 for this...Please comment on anything that isn't clear or if it seems like I'm smashing two religions crudely together.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Complacency

I have finally found the all-encompassing word that describes the Western thought that America embodies. I repeatedly refer to this "theme" in the majority of my posts. And the word has finally popped into my head. Rudimentary in our society, complacency is this very evil that blinds our faiths and morals. My previous post, and many others discuss and argue how morals are short-lived when we fall for hedonism, gluttony, and excess comfort.
A perfect Hindu term for this illusoriness is maya. (Please read the short story to understand the full meaning of this post.) Summarized, there are several stories within stories. Three, if including the larger context of the Legend of Narada within the Hindu texts of the Puranas. The protagonist of this story is none other than Narada, who has been journeying with Lord Krishna, a Christ-like reincarnation of Vishnu. The story is dizzying, especially since Western thought's story line follows the outline of past, present, future, rather than disrupting the excess weight of time. How short-lived and ephemeral do Narada's pleasures and family seem. Ultimately, Krishna remains at his resting spot, waiting for Narada to turn. This emphasizes the incomparable downplay of our venerated, worshiped deities and their lack of need for our acts of worship or praise. 
Instead, we find ourselves caught up in the time spent in our own illusions. 
Rather than return to what is ultimately real, we find pleasure and comfort in distractions. And our Western society has done a tremendous job on having the accessibility to any type of excess of pleasure at any individual's fingertips. There is much to be said about the harms that derive from a culture that promotes consumerism. But the crucial point to come away with is that though we may find ourselves stooping into the world of illusoriness, our faith in our chosen ishta, one's chosen ideal of God, allows for us to pull ourselves back out of what is not ultimately real. Again, what is not real is what is ephemeral, temporal, and nine out ten times tangible. If it's a man made object that's mass produced, it's typically going to be a potential distraction, not an immediate one. It is the individual, us, who turn something that doesn't necessarily have to be a distraction into illusion. This directly corresponds with Moses' reading of the Ten Commandments: "You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below." (Exodus 20:4.) Similarly in Narada's test put forth by Krishna, Moses relieves the people by saying "“Do not be afraid. God has come to test you, so that the fear of God will be with you to keep you from sinning.” (Exodus 20:20.) Between these two traditional stories we find that God wants us to choose what is ultimately real over the illusion. Anything other decision puts us further from our God, and it becomes difficult in discerning what is ultimately real and what is inevitably holy. 
    

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Postnatal Abortions=Infanticide=Homicide

Giovanni Battista's The Madonna and Child in Glory with Cherubs
Upon reading this post, I couldn't help but have my own response. I would like to point out the argument of how the sex culture of America is the factor to look at in any of these instances (abortions, infanticide, and homicide.) Anyone would be a fool to ignore that an American teenage girl has been given the green light by society to have sex. Several of these "green lights" are seen in condom commercials making it on TV, the tendencies and promotions of sex as an inevitable act of pleasure in SexEd classes in schools, and our culture that says yes to everything and anything an individual wants i.e. greed. I personally find that any movement for postnatal abortions ignores the fact that a woman is seen only for her sex. And if any argument should be made about the woman in the instance of an abortion, it shouldn't be about if its a choice, her choice, or any choice is to be made at all, but rather that the woman has been subdued by a paternalistic society. This shouldn't be shocking because based on the reality, who has the abortion? Males are never  held accountable for their actions in these instances because they never have been held to such a standard since it was absurd to have sexual relations with a woman out of wedlock. While this argument could go straight to the argument over marriage is the only place for sex, I find that one has to look no further than our local communities. I find it horrific that PlannedParenthood or any clinics that ultimately end in decimation (rather, death,) should be considered or esteemed so highly as bright and cheery resources for a woman. It's considerably flip flopped in that the woman is "free" after submitting to have sex and given the ability to erase any trace of responsibility or submission. In this Culture of Death that we promote, it is seemingly mechanical for the woman to make the hardest decision with what to do after sex. I find that something as destructive and evil as postnatal abortions is just a glimpse of how far our (world) culture is willing to go in order that our immediate, hedonistic pleasures; the highest of these being sex.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Qigong, A First Time Experience

This past weekend, I spent a good hour and a half participating in Qigong session. As to what I was actually partaking in, I am not 100% sure. I was, of course, informed shortly before the session began what we would be doing, but I admit I was too focused on stretching and warming up- not sure how physically demanding this course would be. I write this because I've done several Hatha yoga sessions before, and I thought it could be of some value to compare this new martial arts class to my experiences in the Hindu realm of physical meditation.
Immediately, I detected that breaking a sweat was inevitable; Qigong was physically demanding. Where yoga has one moving to get into positions that one eventually holds for a period of time, Qigong was a continuation of fluid movements. These movements were broken into the Eight Treasures, all of which had very interesting names which we were to meditate on (if we could simultaneously) while trying to follow the instructor. My favorite Treasure pertained to the Tiger energy. Again, compared to yoga, I found that some of the same balancing and flexibility techniques were shared, but Qggong was very demanding in holding one half (in the Tiger "set" it was the legs stuck in a pose) while the upper body went through a circuit of movements in sets of either three or nine. I think that Hatha yoga allowed for me personally to meditate instantaneously once I was able to get into a pose, but Qigong was consistently demanding for my mind to be focused on trying to get into a rhythm. I feel that my recent inactive lifestyle was really jump started by the combination of all Eight Treasures.

Sorry for the vagueness, it was hard to retain all the details of the names of the Treasures I was doing, and similarly, I didn't have much of grasp on the history of Qigong. However, I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in yoga already or one who would like to start some form of martial arts. This exercise, though, was not seemingly as "violent" taekwondo or any other martial arts. I'm still curious to learn about its history and why it's placed under the category of martial arts. It did, however, have a strong physical affect on my body. I was thoroughly exhausted when I finished. The extensive stretching in each Treasure was very unique and apparently healthy. "Realigning the channels" was the goal of Qigong; a shared Hindu/Buddhist, Eastern Asian practice.

Fascinating.  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Crito, A Peter-Disciple of Socrates Part 2

It's no coincidence that we find shared characteristics between a philosopher's disciple and a messiah's apostle. While both masters endured physical pain, specifically the Agony in the Garden and the Death (suicide) of Socrates by poison, we find two disciples that act rashly on human impulse. Peter reacted violently when Jesus was arrested: "Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear." (Matthew 26:50-51.) We similarly find Crito pleading for Socrates to use his finances to escape from prison: "Simmias the Theban, has brought a sum of money for this very purpose; and Cebes and many others are willing to spend their money too. I say, therefore, do not on that account hesitate about making your escape..." (Crito.) Through both students' seemingly impulsive responses, we use hindsight to prove their humanity and therefore, their actions embody actions that any human being is bound to make. However, through this process in which we justify both disciples' humanity, we tend to overlook how their actions are selfish. I don't mean to deride either of their characters but it is important to signify each of their wrongs, especially the ones that their teachers have highlighted. After His Transfiguration, Jesus "gave them orders not to tell anyone what they had seen until the Son of Man had risen from the dead. They kept the matter to themselves..." (Mark 9:9-10.)My interpretation of this, in addition to Christ's fulfillment of revealing Himself to Man, is that there is an initial limitation to what Jesus was able to share with Peter, (James, and John.) Eventually, however, Jesus gave Peter the "keys of the gates of Heaven," but before this significant turning point in his life's journey as an apostle, Peter was incapable of taking on the full revelation of the "mystery of Christ." (Matthew 16:19, Colossians 4:3.)
This inability that the human disciple embodies is seen ever more clearly in Crito's personality. Failing to live Socrates' teaching, Crito was only capable of regurgitating the words of his teacher, rather than devotedly converting his lifestyle to that of Socrates' doctrine. Consequently, Crito was only able to retain a minimal quantity of teaching and was not allowing his soul to undergo the dramatic changes that Socrates had intended for his followers. Spearheading Socrates' expectations for Crito is existentialism. In essence, Socrates believed in democracy. Condemned by democratic means accounted for in Plato's Apology, Socrates lives unchanged through his incarceration. Crito depicts Socrates in prison: "I wanted you to be out of pain. I have always thought you happy in the calmness of your temperament; but never did I see the like of the easy, cheerful way in which you bear this calamity." By doing so, he signifies living in the "now."    

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Crito, A Peter-Disciple of Socrates

One of the main underlying themes of Crito is the importance of how avoid conforming to social norms. The short dialogue between Socrates and Crito takes place in prison. Crito enters upon Socrates as he sleeps, and when he wakes, Crito comments on how he retained a serene face during his dream, representing that his imprisonment was having minimal affects on his attitude. The city of Athens awaits the arrival of a ship from Delos, and on its arrival, Socrates is to be put to death. Crito tells Socrates the ship has yet to come to Athens, and in return, Socrates retells his dream. In it, a woman speaks to Socrates saying, “O Socrates, the third day hence to fertile Phthia shalt thou go.” Believing that either the ship’s arrival or the woman’s prophecy was bound to come true shortly, Crito presses Socrates to make a decision whether or not to escape from jail. Having the financial means to do so, Crito believes that Socrates should escape his unjust imprisonment in order to keep teaching the apparently large multitude of believers that did not argue against his incarceration. Crito also depicts the weakness in Socrates’ plan of becoming a martyr for his cause; by leaving this world, Socrates would be abandoning his children as orphans. The conservation quickly switches to Socrates reviewing his teachings on society and the evil it contains. By doing so, Socrates depicts the importance of seeking wisdom from a teacher, not from persons, especially those who stress the importance of the body over reason.
                I can’t help but immediately think of Christ and his disciple Peter when reading the dialogue between Crito and Socrates. The gist of Socrates’ conversation with Crito is a confirmation of his teachings and their application to their current state: incarceration. Too quickly does Crito panic and search for the immediate, self-preserving resolution to Socrates’ imprisonment. I find this paralleled in Mark’s account of Jesus rebuking Peter: “[Jesus] then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again. He spoke plainly about this, and Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him.” (Mark 8:31-33.) Both Socrates’ and Jesus’ responses to their disciples’ reactions to their self-sacrifices are “You do not have in mind the things of God, but the things of men.” (ibid.)
                Another large parallel I’ve drawn between both men is the denial of accepting society’s definition of their personality. Repeatedly, both Jesus and Socrates deny their true identities, or at least how society wishes to identify them as; initially, outcastes. Socrates tells Crito: “My friend, we must not consider what the many say of us, but what he, the one man who has understanding of the just and unjust will say, and what the truth will say. (We will not be defined by society.) Therefore you begin in error when you suggest we should consider the opinion of the many about the just and unjust, the good and evil, the honorable and dishonorable, (anything less than the truly enlightened “man,” Buddha, Christ will inevitably be prone to faults and thus failure) but what if someone says, “But the many can kill us.” Crito responds that the many, or rather the multitude of society wishes to kill him. Socrates responds: “Still I believe our old argument is unshaken. I would like to know whether I may say the same of another proposition-that not life, but a good life, is to be chiefly valued?” I would argue that this strongly resembles Jesus’ short dialogue with Pilate in which He is questioned: “So Pilate asked Jesus, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’ ‘Yes, it is as you say,’ Jesus replied…On hearing this, Pilate asked if the man was a Galilean.” (Luke 23: 3-6.) While the length may not be the same, the content mirrors one another. Throughout the Four Synoptic Gospels, Jesus does not full reveal himself as the Christ until certain points like his encounter with the Samaritan woman at the well: Then Jesus declared, "I who speak to you am he." (John 4:26.) Similarly, Socrates holds out with his revelation of him being the “gadfly of Athens,” until he is on trial.
     

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Need For Anarchism, Christian Anarchism

            I think that Christian anarchism is the only probable sect of anarchism that would have a chance in today’s society. With the talk of how we are able to communicate with random people across the world through the internet, the world isn’t necessarily getting smaller. We are just realizing how separated the world once was before we could shoot emails. This being said, I believe that only certain governments, theologies, and societies can thrive in this vast environment. Christian anarchism is what the world needs. Its concepts can apply to a large world, or rather to a small community within the global society we live in the 21st century. However, I do not mean to say that the world could be fitted with Christian anarchism. Being too big, the global community could not settle on a common set of moral laws that would be shared throughout the Christian anarchist world. But, if there was an attempt to create a Christian anarchist society, it would have to mock the utopian colony attempt in Alduous Huxley’s Brave New World. What inevitably happens to a combination of Alphas on one island is disastrous and somewhat realistic; powerful people want to take charge. So there needs to be structure within a community that is larger than a town. I envision the idea of a Christian anarchist community would be the size of a nudist colony or a hippy commune.
There’s a quote from Men in Black (which I hate to use, but it holds some truth to it) which says something like, “A person is smart, but people are dumb, rash and they panic!” I think the concept of a thriving community is hard to envision without some authority. Christianity has a set of morals that can be found in the Bible. The Ten Commandments encompass a widely accepted set of morals that can cross into multiple religions. So it’s not just the idea of Christ himself being the unseen, spiritual ringleader of a Christian anarchist group, but the morals He set by example, some of which reflected the teachings in the Old Testament. I think the early Christian communities, such as Antioch, exemplify the reality of a group of individuals coming together and being led by only an agreed set of morals and beliefs.
There is a need for spirituality in setting morals. Inevitably, anarchism’s lack of leadership and/or government demands for a set of said morals. However, without any spiritual influence, morals can’t be agreed on. It is not one religious sect whose name has to be put before anarchism. I think Hinduism’s term ishta, meaning one’s chosen ideal of God, explains the transcendence of shared spiritual morality. This means that Arjuna experienced the same laying down of laws in the Bhagavad Gita, as did Moses on Sinai, and the Buddha under his Bodhi tree. This explains how there is a shared set of morals only to be found in a spiritual setting. I think that governments like republics, democracies, and autonomies depict the failing attempts of using philosophy as a common ground to group communities under one set of morals. Without the spirituality aspect, morals cannot be respected. I think today in the 21st century, we see that morals aren’t respected anymore. If the morals can’t be respected, then there is a definite need for rule by government and authority. But if there is a well thought-out attempt at establishing a realistic Christian anarchist community, I think that the global community would gain the respect for morality that was recently lost.     
I think that Christian anarchism could also apply to an individual’s mind. An example of someone’s mind that would look like a democracy would have the cliché devil and angel sitting on his shoulders. His conscience would be ruled by both sides. But a Christian anarchist mind would free one’s conscience, influenced by society, from ephemeral limitations. I think that a mind such as that would have a moral compass that comes into play time after time in that minds’s life span. And it is never disrupted by societal norms as a democracy’s mind would. Again, I think Hinduism’s concept of atman, meaning the ultimate being within, defines how free our conscience could be if we were to train it to be still. If our minds were constrained only by morals that had to be inevitably developed from the lack of leadership found in a democracy’s mind, then we would be in total control of our thoughts. 

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Karmic Propensities: An Uncomfortable Cause and Effect

Even after Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also," we still are quick to condemn. (Matthew 5:38-39.) I never find it acceptable to let a convicted criminal to walk guilt-free. However, Hinduism's definition of karma is loosely "action or work." Buddhism takes the notion of negative karma a step further. This blog's namesake define how negative karma effects our lives: kleshas (कलेशा) consist of Three Poisons: greed, hatred, and delusion. Tanhas (तन्हस) are cravings or desires. Both of these fuel our negative actions which in Catholic terminology translates to sins, both venial and mortal. However, where Catholicism believes in the forgiveness of sins through the sacrament of Reconciliation/Confession, Buddhists believe that the negative karma remains with you. 
I write this because until recently redefined by my Comparative Religions teacher, I always assumed that karma would come back to you for the sake of its harmful effects on the sinner. However, loosely summing up what he said, negative karma reaches the doer in the long run so that they may be more aware of their sins or kleshas. By being aware of their sins, similar to how Catholics acknowledge their faults through an Examination of Conscience, both Buddhists and Catholics attempt to achieve equanimity. "Equal mindedness" is a step closer to Buddhahood, or in Western terms, enlightenment. 
Why, or rather how, can be accepting negative karma be uncomfortable, especially for Americans? I was reading my local newspaper today, and one of the front page articles read: Attack suspect found guilty, Man faces 30 years in beating of elderly woman. This by no means justifies or liberates the attacker of his crime, but by Buddhist beliefs, the 87 year old woman had done something within her past that was now being brought into light through karma. What I find hard to understand is did the woman's past sin that caused this- was it equal to her being blinded in one of her eyes? And returning to what my teacher said, karma, doesn't necessarily fall into this "eye for an eye," equal punishment, or even (Western) justice. But, not to ignore the reality of an 87 year old woman being beaten blind, the crime of the guilty man will cause him to receive negative karma in order to understand what harms he caused to obviously his victim, but also to himself. I think it's within this point in which the guilty doesn't receive negative karma as a handed-down judgement, it's uncomfortable for us to think that the man isn't being punished for the woman's injuries, but rather the injuries he inflicted upon himself for the act of violence against another human being. The magnitude to which the karma will reach in the criminal's life is uncertain, but it, going off of what I've summarized my teacher for saying, will be to the extent by which the man will fully understand his sins. 
Again, to highlight how this is uncomfortable, for me especially, the woman doesn't seemed "revenged" or accounted for in the world of karma. But an interesting aspect that plays into Buddhism as well as Catholicism is life after death. Both concepts are fairly similar: Buddhists believe (in simple language) that the criminal will return in his next life as a victim to such violence he committed. An analogy that better describes this is if one harms dogs in this life, they will return as a dog that receives harm from its owner. Catholics believe that you will be judged on the Final Day. This relates to Buddhism because God, acting as the judge, reviews your actions and sins that are within your heart. Both faiths have a negative response to sinful actions done within this life. And while Yahweh did indeed say "But if there is serious injury, you are to take life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, bruise for bruise," Jesus did contradict this with the idea that God, or rather love in a karmic fashion, will ultimately judge the sinner's action. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Weight Gays Carry and How This Should Affect Moralists and Conservatives

I can’t help but point out that yes, there is St. Paul’s quote "Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God" (1 Corinthians 6:9-11.) and a statistic saying 97%, (Fr. Leonard Kennedy, Catholic Insight, “The Annulment Crisis in the Catholic Church”, March 1999 issue, re-posted by Janet Fernandez.) but there is more of a natural law that one can look at rather than faith (which doesn’t cut it for some, and a statistic certainly doesn’t do it for others.) I think that “this country was founded on Christian principles,” however, we have either strayed too far from them, ignored them, or mutilated them. (Celia Lamb.) And one doesn’t have to look much farther than the inability for two males or two females being incapable of reproducing a child. It is a matter of fact there is no natural way for gays to reproduce. St. Paul, along with many other Christian writers, does not necessarily write to always condemn and to "kill the fun of the party." I think that especially in St. Paul’s context, Christian philosophy is an attempt to live life to the fullest. And one can view St. Paul’s writing as a restriction that bars homosexuality, but at the same time, he is stating a simple fact that God did not intend for two males to create a family. God, nature, genitalia-
whatever it is- does not work in favor of homosexuality. I think that because of this ultimatum, gay supporters in this instance are quick to lash out. There IS indeed a level of frustration that gays express which consequently points to the natural inability for two members of the same sex to have children. This is why the term marriage means one man, one woman. I think today, people tend to think that the buzzword(s) “definition of marriage” is deductive; that Christians or moralists believe that gays are wrong because Scripture says so-that argument doesn’t get very far when people don’t believe in it. However, being inductive with the concept of one man, one woman leads one to think of that marriage is just the word that gives a name to the reality of their union.
With that in mind, one should fully recognize the high wall of natural law (reality?) that homosexuals face. Condemning them is the last thing people should want to do, inherently we do though. Something innately different really freaks people out, and it does and it has shaken many peoples beliefs. But realizing what homosexuality does to heterosexuals, that is, discomforts them, one should always recognize the weight that gays carry in their inability to start a family through love, sex, and compassion for another.

Apple Siding with Gay Extremists Over Conservative Christians

I think that you don't even need to bring Christianity into this subject. Apple is making a pathetic attempt to side with the "in crowd" which has only 7,000+. The "very vocal protest by those who favor gay marriage and abortion" happens to be a group that uses cynicism. I have absolutely no sympathy for Apple, but the "in crowd," in almost every situation will hold the First Amendment as their sword and as their shield, condemnation of their opposition as homophobes. I think, or at least wish to think that Apple had to have seen some degree of pressure from a minuscule group to override the 500,000 people who signed the Manhattan Declaration. It by no means justifies what they did, but for the "hipster/in look" that Apple so strongly desires, it undoubtedly had to have sided with the louder and newer crowd. I think Apple is self-damaging its reputation for the larger consumer body, I mean come on, 500,000 dwarfs the 7,000+ crowd. And there is obviously more at stake than just Christian consumers, Apple risks taking a stance against ancient morals that other world religions share with Christianity.