Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Texas Faith 15: Glenn Beck and the culture of fear

Dallas Morning News,
Each week we will post a question to a panel of about two dozen clergy, laity and theologians, all of whom are based in Texas or are from Texas. They will chime in with their responses to the question of the week. And you, readers, will be able to respond to their answers through the comment box.

Talk show host Glenn Beck landed on the cover of Time Magazine this week, after a powerful start as a Fox News host. Beck is most famous these days for his updated version of American exceptionalism and for promoting a fear that the Constitution is being undermined by a conspiracy.

It's easy for liberals to dismiss such thinking as more nuttiness or groundless anger on the right. But the New York Times' conservative columnist David Brooks also talked about people being afraid because of their economic insecurity, which is very real. And liberal evangelical Jim Wallis put out a letter saying to Beck that progressives share a fear about tomorrow, although he believes hope should overcome fear. Liberal columnist Jim Sleeper issued his own warning to progressives, saying today's anxiety goes far beyond race.

So here's this week question:

What constructive thing would you say to people who are afraid in today's world so they don't fall prey to demagogues?

Read on to see how our panelists respond:

NITYANANDA CHANDRA DAS, minister of ISKCON (International Society for Krishna Consciousness), Dallas

A politician, like any other person, can only share what they possess. If someone is in a state of fear and confusion, then they can only provide fear and confusion.

Fear is not the answer and fear with no practical solution can be debilitating. All problems stem from forgetfulness of one's eternal loving relationship with God. Such ignorance or illusion causes one to place many unnatural designations upon himself based on gender, race, wealth, age, species, religion, sexuality and so on.

By engaging in one's natural position (dharma) of Bhakti, loving devotional service unto God, one develops transcendental knowledge (vijnana). From such knowledge one will develop the 26 good qualities that are inherently part of the soul. Such a state is free of fear and full of happiness.

Politicians are generally in the bodily conception of life and thus cannot see that they are only providing material solutions to a spiritual problem.
Hare Krishna :)
Your humble servant,
Nityananda Chandra Das
To see all the responses from the Texas Faith Panel click here

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