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A Muslim, a Christian, a nonreligious person, and an agnostic respond to an op-ed

My CNN.com op-ed over the weekend got a lot of people talking. Here are three responses:

From a Muslim:

I read your article and while the English was a little above my level (maybe most Americans too) I understood most of it.

What I truly want to say is you did hit the nail on the head with this one. You presented the facts about the short comings of the Muslim and Christian communities (no one doeskin perfect) and a roadmap to work our differences (if any exists really!) and the more important part you were fair!!

I want to thank you as a Muslim for being fair and about having Muslim friends, if one in your community wants to have Muslim friend tell then to contact me

From a Christian:

Your article published by CNN today was a good one. I don't ever write to columnist, but I thought your opinion was relevant and certainly timely. I haven't read any of your books and don't know why the Christian book stores don't carry them (I might agree with them), but the article was very good.


From a nonreligious person:

Rather than pointing fingers at the prejudiced Islamaphobic evangelicals, you should have perhaps described the situation in the same way a 3rd grade teacher would. A rotten kid in the class taunts another rotten kid, the second kid has little tolerance for the commentary and starts hitting the first kid.

Both kids are immature and wrong. The kid who threw the punch has committed the worse offense in escalating the matter. And chances are that the subject matter of their disagreement would seem downright immature even to the other third graders.

Just a simple perspective from someone who practices no religion. But also someone who has seen too many folks like yourself criticizing the taunting kid while completely ignoring the violent one.

From an agnostic:

Dear Mr. McLaren, may I respond briefly to your comments? I was not raised in any religion and would probably call myself an agnostic. I have grown increasing disgusted at the behavior of religious Americans. The hateful speech and political activity of the religious right are not, in my view, consistent with the teachings of Christianity. I agree with you. But the failure of the more moderate Christians, Jews, etc to speak up loudly in defense of tolerance, kindness, acceptance and respect makes it seem that they stand in silent support.

And I feel the same way about Muslims. I assume that most Muslims, like most Christians, are decent, compassionate people who abhor violence, hate and cruelty. The Muslims I know know personally are kind, generous and loving. But, again, where are their voices raised in outrage out shouting the screams for jihad?
To a non- religious person, you all are to blame for this flood of incivility and hostility that is drowning us. To paraphrase a comment I read on the web: "I wish the first rule of religion was like the first rule of Fight Club!"