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More on Mother Teresa

From: "ed babinski"
To: annica
Sent: Tuesday, September 30, 2003 8:47 PM
Subject: Mother T.


"annica..." writes:
I read your article on the web about Mother Theresa and was amazed at what a nerd you are;


ED: Dearest Annica, thank you for introducing yourself. My name's Ed. May I remind you at this early juncture in our conversation, invective is not argument. As for you being "amazed," it appears that my tiny little piece is the sole piece you have ever read questioning Mother Teresa. There are others on the web, and in books and in newspapers. I mention some that I have run across below. May your "amazement" continue.


I pity the woman who ends up with a pinhead that has no deeper sense of (what you believe) analysis than what you have presented.


I am not a christian. Nor am I any follower of Mother Theresa.


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ED: And I am neither a christian nor an atheist. I think Mother T. was fine at what she did, but her legend has been puffed up, blown out of proportion. Other Indian charities were not given as much press after she became famous, while her activities and doings were puffed up by the press and by Western Christians from the Pope to Malcolm Muggeridge. She ignorantly opposed birth control in a land where the population is growing faster than the economy (India will soon have more people than China; and India's water needs have grown so much that she is building dams near the source of her major rivers, rivers that also flow into Pakistan, and Pakistan also is dry and her water needs are increasing, so disputes over water may lead to further wars between those two nations), even justifying her views with the platitude that "There can never be enough children."


Mother Teresa used to say, "God always provides. He provides for the flowers and the birds, for everything in the world that he has created. And those little children are his life. There can never be enough."


"God provides? . provides for the birds ... There can never be enough?" Scientists who study birds have found that one-third of adult birds and four-fifths of their offspring die of starvation every year. (David Lack, "Of Birds and Men," New Scientist, Jan., 1996).


She was opposed to pain killers even in cases of a man with severe pain from cancer.


She accepted money from a wall street banker who had gained that money via frauds and who went to prison, and then she kept that money, not returning it to the American judge so it could be sent back to the people whom Keating had stolen it from. She also kept asking for money when she already had tons of it in different banks the she wasn't even spending.


When the Bofal chemical plant explosion took place in India, the presence of her sisters of charity was front page news while most of the rescue and relief there was done by others and other organizations. The Western press idolized her.


I read an article about another woman in India, not Mother Teresa, but a native Hindu woman who teaches birth control. She discovered that when women practice birth control, they have fewer children and the children they have also have a lower mortality rate and are taken care of better. While the women who don't practice birth control wind up having more children, more of whom die, and the woman herself is sicker as well, from having undergone so many pregnancies and also despair over her dying children.


I agree that picking up people off the street who were extremely sick or near death and showing them some compassion before they died is admirable. But what about the folks seeking to end all caste divisions (they are already outlawed in India, but like racism in America, will take time to eradicate), and people working for birth control and a better economy and better health care and better education?


Moreover, various people have gone to India and stayed with Mother Teresa and her sisters and seen things that are less than admirable. I read a lengthy newspaper account in the London Times not too long ago of one woman from London who visited India to see up close what the Sisters of Charity were doing. That woman loved Mother T. but her view changed, not to hatred, but to less than adoration, after seeing how things are really run there by the Sisters. She cited specific examples in her article and stayed there for a while. Her piece was long, appearing in three separate installments.


All in all, I do not find Mother T. to be the saint that some have made her out to be. One could of course read some of the news articles and books concering such matters:


Food for Thought, The Other Side of Mother Teresa by Dr Rana Jawad Asghar


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But it is very easy to see that you completely miss the point of everything that Mother Theresa stood for.


ED: As you perhaps miss the point of what I stand for?


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I lived in India for 10 years and met many spiritual teachers, political leaders and so forth, and interacted with people from all over the country, and also poor people. Your assumptions of Mother Theresa comes not from mistakes on Mother Theresa's part, but from your lack of understanding what the spiritual path is.


ED: I have read Gandhi. I applaud many of his views and his courage. I also have read about the 1997 winner of the million dollar Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. The winner in 1997 was a Hindu, Shastri Athavale, whose spiritual and social activism was inspired by the The Bhagavad Gita. Athavale has inspired hundreds of thousands of people to spend two weeks or more visiting India's poorest villages where they seek to advance the self-respect and economic condition of those they visit. For more than four decades Athavale has taught that service to God is incomplete without service to humanity.


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I spoke with a lot of Indians who had interacted with Mother Theresa. They actual thing that had impressed them is not as you state that she and her nuns were trying to "convert" people under force of charity, but the fact that they had BELIEVED she wanted to convert everyone (as many foreigners do, when they come on missions to India) and discovered she wasnt at all: she was simply following her own path.


Mother Theresa made a vow as a very young woman. Even at an old age when the donations could have made all the nuns live comfortably, she still kept to her vow.


ED: Most of the poor people in the world don't have to take a vow to remain poor. Mother Teresa was assured that Mother Church would at least take care of her material essentials for life (and also in the life of the world to come as well). *smile* She also got the satisfaction of being the "head" of her own order, which must bring some sort of satisfaction that even money cannot buy, I imagine. She also had excellent hospital care when she became seriously ill at the end.


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I bet you cant keep a promise even for a day or two, but you pelt stones at someone who kept one single promise her entire life.


ED: If I "pelted stones" then what exactly does the name-calling that you showered me with in this email constitute?


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In spiritual practices (and especially in the east they can often understand this) it is essential to have the disciplin to keep ones word without fail, if you should 'grow' spiritually (meaning, if you should expand your soul). Nother Theresa certainly had that disciplin. If you are not interested to join any religious order, why do you spend your time defaming them?


ED: Not like I wrote a book defaming religious orders, I wrote a little piece is all, and it "amazed" you. There are two books above, written by people indeed have spent far more time "defaming" Mother Teresa as you call it. I happen to call it examining, not defaming. Famous people draw other people's interest and those people often grow curious to learn more about those famous people. Is that a sin? Why read about any famous religious person at all if you're not curious about their story, their fame, their activities? And if you do find things that are unedifying about such people, or questinable about their beliefs or activities, are you supposed to never discuss such matters? I think idolizing famous people can lead to blind devotion, and to lack of thought in general, and to ignorant decisions being made, and such things can be harmful. I also agree with you that talk is cheap. And anyone who performs acts of charity or philanthropy deserves some praise, as did Mother Teresa.
Florence Nightengale, the woman who made nursing a legitimate profession, also deserves praise, though she was disdainful of organized Christianity. I have also pointed out elsewhere the following:


WHAT DO ATHEISTS DO TO HELP?
If it wasn't for a host of scientists who happened to be either lapsed churchgoers, heretics, apostates, infidels, agnostics, or atheists, and their successes in the fields of agricultural and medical science, hundreds of millions would have starved to death or suffered innumerable diseases this past century. Those agricultural and medical scientists "multiplied more loaves of bread" and "prevented/healed more diseases" in the past hundred years than Christianity has in the past two thousand.
Florence Nightengale, the woman who made nursing a legitimate profession, was a bi-sexual who disdained institutionalized religion. The founder of the International Red Cross, Andre Dunant, was gay. The founder of the American Red Cross, Clara Barton, was a freethinker. Helen Keller, the blind and deaf woman who proved an inspiration to sufferers of severe disabilities, was a member of the American Humanist Society (and a Swedenborgian).
- E.T.B.


Suffering through the unusually hideous world events of the past couple of weeks, appalled by the role of religious belief in events as overwhelming as the atrocities in the Middle East and India, I find myself becoming less sanguine about the place of religion itself in public life.


For some reason, we don't read about mobs of atheists stoning and burning alive human beings who do not share their non-beliefs. So far, no agnostics have blown themselves up in discos, taking someone's children with them. No scientific determinists have been kidnapped and murdered by supporters of chaos theory. Moral relativists are not organizing militias for the purpose of putting people in jail for possession of the Ten Commandments; nor are agnostics firing rockets at pantheists from helicopter gunships.


It makes you think: Given the events of the past half year, why do non-believers continue on the defensive? Why do relativism and secular humanism continue to have such negative associations, especially in the conservative mind? Why does the word "liberal" inevitably trail the words "elitist" and "hypocrite" in its wake? Who is an elitist, if not the Taliban? Who is a hypocrite if not a Christian who shoots a gynecologist over the "right to life"?


For some reason, despite all evidence to the contrary, we uphold a persistent conviction that people who haven't found religion are more prone to do evil; that a secular family is lacking in family values; that a pragmatic administration is a soulless machine.


True, one could point to godless communism as the dystopia to be feared. And yet, looking back, it seems obvious that Stalin and Mao did not want to eliminate religion so much as to become gods themselves; that Pol Pot had more in common with the believer Adolf Hitler than with the atheist Karl Marx.


More to the point, confronted on an almost daily basis with the dangerous capacity of religious belief to drive people off the deep end (to induce a woman to murder her children, for example), why does belief continue to be encouraged, protected and accorded a special place in North American society? Why is a given belief system worthy of public support, simply because a given number of people believe it? Why, unlike the arts -- which are similarly nonprofit, state-supported, non-materialistic activities -- are religious institutions exempt from having to explain themselves to non-supporters, to demonstrate that they are a benefit to the community with graphs and multiplier effects and all the rest of it?


I'm not saying that believers could not make such a case for themselves to a public forum or a jury of their peers (think of the music, not to mention Good Works). What puzzles me is that they aren't called on to make it at all, before they achieve tax-exempt status, before they start a school.


At minimum, when a believer runs for public office, is it unreasonable to expect him to explain his convictions to people who don't share them? Should a candidate happen to believe in a coming Apocalypse and final judgment, should she not explain to the rest of us how this might tie in with her views on, say, crime and the environment? If you believe in predestination, what are the implications for health care? If you believe in karma and reincarnation, what is the point of a social safety net? After Sept. 11, can any political leader proclaim his beliefs to be "private"?


As North Americans muddle our way through the crises of terrorism and its aftermath, in which religion and a belief in the afterlife are demonstrably part of the problem and not part of the solution, isn't it a bit creepy to see the President of the United States spreading a religiously freighted abstraction ("evil" -- as in "axis of") whose purpose is to marshal support for an expansion of the war against terrorism to a level not unlike the Crusades? Why does the Commander-in-Chief have himself photographed in prayer, and not in discussion or thought?


-- John MacLachlan Gray, "Do We Have A Misplaced Faith in Religious Belief?" The Globe and Mail, Wednesday, March 13, 2002
globeandmail.com & jmgray@globeandmail.ca


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Seems you are trying to "convert" them to atheism!


ED: "Atheism?" No. but a little more agnosticism wouldn't hurt.


I am currently in India with my wife who is of Indian origin.~I always find it a little humorous when the Hindus and Muslims parade down the main streets waving their flags and banging their drums.~Naturally they don't hold their parades at the same time as they would kill each other . and they always make a point of marching through each other's turf.


The part I find funny is that they use the exact same identifying colors as the two major Christian opposites in the west, i.e., Catholics are green, and Protestants are orange.~ Here in India the Musilms' color is green, and the Hindus' is orange.
- Craig and Yesamma (craighendry@yahoo.com)


Devout Israeli Jews continue to march at least once a year through the Moslem half of the city of Jerusalem, and proclaim loudly that God has given the Jews "all the land." -- E.T.B.


So many gods, so many creeds,
So many paths that wind and wind,
While just the art of being kind,
Is all the sad world needs.


-- Ella Wheeler Wilcox (1850-1919)


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So what's really the difference between religious groups that annoy you, and your own efforts. None whatsoever.


Your comments on the donations are also ridiculous. You are forgetting that people who donated to Mother Theresa's organisation, donated in the wish that they funds would be used according to Mother Theresa's instructions. No one forced them to donate anything. They could have donated the money to UNICEF or some other organisation who spends most of their monies on salaries and advertisement, if they had wanted to. It was up to them.


ED: Which raises the question exactly of where Mother T.'s money went. I mean, according to one London Times reporter who visited the Sisters of Mercy, they reused dirty diapers as wash cloths, they even reused needles. They spent no money on air conditioning, no money on anything apparently, yet Mother T.'s fame brought her tons and tons of money, including the Nobel Peace prize. I certainly would like to know where it all eventually went.


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You're pretty callous: you have more concern for the donation money than the fact that she wanted to offer love to these people. What love have you given to anyone in your life?


ED: Which brings up the question, what love are you giving me right now? There are people I work with each day, a Mom and Dad I love, I give of myself to help people who ask around me, and listen when people are talking, and share music and humor. I like to lighten people's day.


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Probably hardly even noticeable.


ED: Sounds like you're on the right spiritual path all right, believing that only you and your spiritual path gives love to other people. (Come to think of it I read somewhere recently about a study done on regular meditators in which it was found that a proportion of people who meditate often are prone to sudden explosions of anger and resentment. I think it may have even been in Time magazine.)


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There is no price on love. You may love someone but it doesn mean they love you back, or feel that you love them. Even in Mother Theresa's case there will always be some who had complaints and were not happy. I could ask in your friendship circle, and lets see how much crap people would talk behind your back!


ED: My philosophy about "crap behind my back" is that it doesn't bother at all. Most people know more about you than you suspect, and also are less likely to care about what they know, than you fear they do.


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People simply talk and view the world and the people around them according to their own feelings and not necessarily according to accurate assumptions. Your writings simply show your own shallowness and does not reflect on necessary wrongs on the part of Mother Theresa's efforts.


Your writings that you have posted on the web doesnt make you look neither intelligent or reasonable. But hey, if that's what makes you happy, go ahead! After all, its happiness that counts.


ED: Does that mean you're against happiness? (I'm being fasecious of course.) I happen to like a saying in the Koran, "He who can make his companions laugh, deserves paradise."


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Annica




From: Ed Babinski
To: Annica
Sent: Wednesday, October 29, 2003 1:52 PM
Subject: Re: Mother T.


Annica: Ed, dear, with all respect to your personal evaluation of Mother Theresa, she has done TREMENDOUS work in India and your points are really meaningless.


ED: As are yours. Lots of organizations have been doing work in India, many indigenous organizations. For what Mother T. did, she received the lion's share of the publicity and funding from overseas by relatively wealthy Western contributors (including the stock market thief, Keating, who gave her millions he had stolen from investors). The point is that there were many organizations of charity in India doing more work than hers. They were ignored while she was recently beautified by the Pope. I told you about the Bofal plant explosion that killed many from cyanide gas, Mother T. sent a few sisters and they all arrived late, and they didn't do anywhere near what the other organizations did, yet she rec'd even there, the lion's share of the publicity. Moreover, Mother T. used her publicity to argue against birth control in INDIA of all countries (soon to be the most populous nation on earth, and soon to surpass China in population.)


Annica: As I mentioned before, I spent nearly 10 years in India and if you know India from actually LIVING there and not being a tourist (a tourist doesnt know anything of the real India) then you are simply blown-away at how she managed to accomplish everything she did. It is VERY, very difficult to even do a fraction of what she did in her life in that country - even with an army of a 1000 helpers.


What is interesting with Mother Theresa, is that she was even taking care of her enemies when they were dying too.


ED: If her "enemies" were dying in the streets of India, then how potent an "enemy" could they have been?


Annica: And these enemies where of concervative religious views and had done everything they could to stop and destroy her work over the years. You know yourself how unreceptive christians can be to other religions, but Mother Theresa not only allowed anyone from ANY religion to utilize her facilities but she also arranged for funeral procedures according to THEIR religion and not to her own christian belief.


ED: That's O.K., they were secretly baptized right before they died.


Annica: Therefore, any assumption that she was trying to convert people are really nothing but assumptions. Indians are really very resentful to christians and I am certain they have analyzed her efforts with a magnifying glass for years in Calcultta before even leaving her alone from harassment!


ED: I don't doubt she did some good. What I doubt is the trumpeting of her goodness above all others.


Annica: It is possible her organisation has been blown out of proportion and all that. But that is certainly not Mother Theresa's fault but the sensationalism of the press! They need something sensational to write about.


ED: Yes, they do. But I want to know where all the money went that she kept collecting, and why she constantly kept asking for more and more before she had spent much of what she already had collected. And why she refused to return the money that have been gained via thievery (Keating).


Annica: Some 3-4 years ago I had a talk with Mr. Chawla, who wrote a book on Mother Theresa in India. He knew her since she was unknown. He always used to tell me that she really NEVER liked the publicity and the constant hounding from press and people created around her but accepted it to the best of her ability.


From persons like Chawla, I could inform you as to why Mother Theresa didnt support abortions and birth-control as I myself had wondered about this: her statement was that if women begin to use abortion each time they get pregnant, they lose their sense value for human life.


ED: I'm not talking about abortion, I'm talking birth control, condoms, the pill, etc. She was against those. She said there can't be enough children, God will provide, when obviously God doesn't even provide for birds, a third of whose young die from starvation each year.


Annica: Not only that, but too much uncontrolled sex (and believe me, the Indians are not one billion from self-control!) create an even worse situation for Indian women. By trying to encourage people to learn SELF-CONTROL instead of copulating like dogs


ED: More like Dogs with condoms who learn to CONTROL what vessel their semen is spilled into.


Annica: and aborting children or even killing them (which was common in India when I was there) her idea was that the force of self-control would keep sexual abuse of women in somewhat control than free sex ever would accomplish.


ED: Who said I was for "free sex?" I am in favor of birth control between consenting sexual partners. That goes for married couples too.


Annica: It may sound crazy to you, but believe me; out western reasoning does NOT work in a country with ancient cultural views like India.


ED: It does work, there are women laboring to spread the news about birth control in India and they have been very successful. Indian women often try to have lots of children, planning on several of them dying young. But they learned that if you used birth control and concentrated on one child at a time, the survival rate when up and the need to get pregnant often to ensure offspring went down, and the offspring were also far better taken care of than in cases of multiple births that tried to ensure surviving children. There is a group of women teaching birth control in India and producing better results than you could imagine. Mother T.'s views are medieval Catholic.


Annica: Also, it is somewhat difficult to generalize Mother Theresa because there are cases where she actually recommended birth control!!! I got the impression that while she had her own reasons for keeping to strict views and disciplines, she also was adjustable in many instances to personal cases of some individuals.


ED: Please share the cases with me. You mean in cases where the mother's life was endangered by an ectopic pregnancy?


Annica: There is no doubt that a lot of the topics and issued that confuse some people, seem to originate from decisions made by her order from their spiritual vows and for certain spiritual growth that they believe will occur if they follow these rules and regulations. I am familiar that in the east it is common to believe that if one allows ones own suffering to continue and learns to live through it, by overcoming the emotional resistance to it rather then seeking always to escape it or cover it up, you 'master' it and thus become free from its effect forever.


I believe a lot of Mother Theresa's views and decisions follow these eastern principles. Your own statements on cases from her life which I have not been familiar with, further convinces me of it and are quite interesting.


My point to you is: just leave them alone.


ED: They are doing what they are doing. The leader is gone but she's probably going to be made a saint.


Annica: They are doing GOOD work, no matter what petty people think or find to criticise. We should respect people like this no matter what religion or background they are.


ED: I am not arguing with what people do right.


Annica: Truly speaking, how many people have WE ever helped in our life and given up all our comforts for?


ED: Doing and saying what you believe in, is a great comfort to most people. She became the head of a holy order and got to have her say in worldwide media and now you are telling me she gave up all "comfort." There are different types of "comfort."


Annica: I think the numbers are very few. I have done a bunch of volunteer work but I really could NEVER be in a position to criticise and analyse anyone in a negative way who tries their best to bring changes of betterment to people.


ED: Ignorant anti-birth control views such as hers will damn India in the long run, just as the Vatican today is lying in Africa that "condoms spread AIDS" and "the AIDS virus can easily get through condoms," both of which are lies.


Annica: We simply have to respect and accept people's effort to try their best, to their own capacity.


To me its simply amazing that pencil pushers sit and publizise negative stories about someone sacrifizing so much in life. People worship Princess Diane, who really contributed little else but cutting ribbons, looking pretty and living a rich life


ED: Actually she wanted to help people. She was in love with a doctor before she died and both had quite an urge to help people. But yes, I don't adore the worship of such icons.


Annica: but jump on Mother Theresa and her simple and uneducated (some of them are) bunch who keep the slums somewhat less from expansion.


ED: A lot of factors could help keep slums from expansion, but I don't see anyone but Mother T. receiving "sainthoods" for their efforts to help educate and heal and better the economic growth of India. Mother T.'s views would bury India in bodies, fill every grave. Her love of every conjugal union, of every incipient sperm and egg about to meet, would spell the death of mankind as a whole. We see the world unraveling even now. Ignorance must not be welded to sainthood, whether it is an ignorant sister of charity or an ignorant pope.


Annica: Just makes no sense!

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