Ben Stein’s Confession

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.  He has a quote from Anne Graham that I’m not in full agreement with but the rest of it is worth reading by my thoughtful readers (I don’t think I have any “unthoughtful” ones!).  Let me know what you think.

ben-stein2.jpg



My confession:


I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish.  And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don’t feel threatened. I don’t feel discriminated against. That’s what they are:  Christmas trees.

It doesn’t bother me a bit when people say, “Merry Christmas” to me. I don’t think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto. In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn’t bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu. If people want a crche, it’s just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away.

I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren’t allowed to worship God as we understand Him?  I guess that’s a sign that I’m getting old, too.  But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to.

In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it’s not funny, it’s intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Katrina)  Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives.  And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”

In light of recent events…terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O’Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn’t want prayer in our schools, and we said OK.
Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK.

Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn’t spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock’s son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he’s talking about. And we said OK.

Now we’re asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don’t know right from wrong, and why it doesn’t bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves.

Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with “WE REAP WHAT WE SOW.”

Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world’s going to hell.  Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says.  Funny how you can send ‘jokes’ through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing.  Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Are you laughing?

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21 Comments

Filed under Atheism/Theism, Change Agent, Culture Wars, Good & Evil, Jesus Christ, morality, Politics, Preaching/Teaching, Religion, Respect

21 responses to “Ben Stein’s Confession

  1. “Nick and Jessica”?? That must mean Ben Stein hasn’t watched any TV in…what, two years?

    Ben Stein should NEVER try and sound hip and with it. The results are rarely pretty.

  2. Lee M. Ancell

    The reality of the article is very real and very disturbing. I live a long way away from the USA and I have no idea who Nick and Jessica are, but I have seen other heroes come and other heroes go. They were all people, and they were all faulted, and they all fell. When mankind establishes a person to be his/her hero today, he is setting up a flawed, marred and scarred individual human being to lead him/her in the ways of morality, truth, justice, and goodness. To be honest, none of us, in any age every qualify for those lofty ideals, and this is especially true of those of the hedonistic paved streets of the entertainment-sports world. I do not even know for certain who Ben Stein is, but the essence of what he says is true. We have given up on the pursuit of good virtues as a universal base of definition for the guidance of our society, and that has occurred because we give up God way too easily. L.M. Ancell

  3. Sorry, but I’m one of those unthoughtful people who think Ben Stein is a bloomin’ idiot. He should stick to giving his money away.

    This is particularly onerous:

    I don’t like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don’t think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can’t find it in the Constitution and I don’t like it being shoved down my throat.

    People “who believe in god” are in the vast majority, actually run this country, and have more power and money than the few people he seems to feel he’s being persecuted by. He thinks you folks are being pushed around? Well, boo, hoo. I’m wiping away tears of sympathy. 90% of the country is being pushed around by what? 5%? 10% tops. Someone needs to explain to him the concept of strength in numbers. I’ll tell you what. When a confirmed and open atheist is elected to a position of power in this country, I’ll start to take Ben Stein seriously.

    I’ve seen that kind of claptrap in emails I’ve received. That’s the kind of insipid thinking that is actually pulling down SAT scores, passes for intelligence and generally supports what you folks keep going on and on about the “American way of life”. That way of life was concieved and embodied by real intellectuals like the Thomas Jeffersons, James Madisons and Abraham Lincolns of this country, not the Ben Steins, a second rate TV personality. It’s scientists and technologists like Thomas Edison, the people at Bell Labs, and George Washington Carver that moved this country forward, not people like Stein.

    Stein is a big proponent of teaching Intelligent Design in schools. The only result you’ll see if that occurs is that we will have less scientists in America, and we will lose our position in the world as a great industrial and technological country. Is that what you want? If so, just keep kowtowing to little people like Stein.

    Also, you should check Snopes.com. A lot of that “confession” was added by people other than Stein.

    Ben Stein. Pah! (can you tell he doesn’t impress me one iota?)

  4. One more thing. If you read the snopes entry, you find out that Dr. Spock’s son did not committ suicide.

  5. Yeah, some of those statements attributed to Stein aren’t true. Yet, the heart of Stein’s comments are verifiable and correct. Namely, most Jews aren’t offended by Xmas trees. And most people pay more attention to Nick and Jessica as opposed to their supreme maker.

    Unfortunately, Stein didn’t make the Spock and O’hare comments on the morning show. Rather, these have seemingly been altered by someone in cyberspace.

    http://www.snopes.com/politics/soapbox/benstein2.asp

    That said, it doesn’t make the aforementioned points any less valid. Most of us are tired of succumbing to political pressure to appease a few. Although personally, I don’t mind limiting my actions to create peace, I do mind someone dictating what I can or can’t do in regards to religion and my God.

    Bueller, Bueller, Bueller… Stein Rocks.

  6. dwhitsett

    OK OK!…so I got part of the Ben Stein thing wrong. I apologize. I should have looked at Snopes as some of you did. Here is my solemn promise: never again will I blindly trust my source.

  7. Does that include the Bible?

    Sorry, I had to ask.

    You know, despite my rant, I did agree with some of the things that Stein said, though nothing original to him. I think the whole “war on Christmas” thing was stupid, to the extent of any truth to it (I think Bill O’Reilly just likes to stir up controversies for ratings, and to make him look smart, which he isn’t). I just didn’t think Christians should feel persecuted because a few secular folk don’t care for the religious aspect of it. If you want to wish someone a Merry Christmas, go ahead. It doesn’t bother me.

    So if I don’t comment here for a few months, Merry Christmas!

  8. dwhitsett

    Yes, it includes the Bible. Contrary to popular belief, not all Theists are blind ones. Sorry, I had to answer.
    I hope you don’t hesitate to comment (surely I will provoke additional ones) but if so, Happy Holidays!

  9. Tom

    I am yet to hear a retailer complain because I bought a Christmas gift from them. There’s something about the power of money.

    How many of you who do not believe in Christmas refuse the holiday pay that your employer gives you for the CHRISTMAS holiday?

    If you don’t believe that’s OK with me – “Merry Christmas” to one and all!

  10. barbara richiger

    Thoughts from Switzerland.
    i do not agree with this text. i agree with the statement that we lost contact with the gods (and the goddesses), that we often lack a deeper understanding of the mysterious relationship between men and the heavens and that we often do not care.

    nevertheless i would not, could not ever accept, that my children would undergo some sort of forced mixmix religious acts in school. what do i mean by mixmix? most of our teachers have themselves little knowledge about their confession or religion, proper spiritual teaching can therefore not take place. furthermore, after having worked for many years now in the field of inter-religious dialog and projects i came to the conclusion that each believe should be passed on authentically, within the religious group itself. here in switzerland the only way that god finds a place in school is through an inter-religious approach and therefore only basic knowledge is passed on to the children.

    for example: how has our planet be created?

    1) the teacher reads creation myths from all over the world, and declares how science explains the act of creation, followed by discussions with the pupils how they THINK things happened and what they BELIEVE.
    2) the child comes home and asks the parents what they think and believe.
    3) which leads to the fact that swiss government and the people are convinced, that it is atmost important, that the parents teach their children about the family religious believe. the parents can profit from our system that has foreseen a corporation between churches and synagogues (evtl. even mosques, depending on the states laws) that the children follow religious education directly with the professional teachers (catechists) during official school-time.

    those three points help us, the adults too, to constantly find new insigths and “energy” for our own believes.

    so far for god in schools.

    now, education: i would not could not EVER accept, that violence is a just and good method in education. o.k., maybe i need to precise: i am violent sometimes – rolling my eyes, frowning, staring my children down, eventually scream or hit a table. but physically attack a child? never!
    spanking even on the tush for me remains an attack. respect, following orders, accepting boundaries is possible without spanking or pulling hairs cold water showers etc.
    in this point i do not agree with ben stein.
    and i hope that many listeners and readers keep their senses and will not go back to old fashioned methods.

    last but not least i do not like at all the conclusions stein dared to draw between the horrible murder of said mrs. murray o’hare and her opposition against religion in schools, or the sad suicide of the doctors son.
    couldn’t we just a easily quote many others who decided to leave this world on their own degree, who suffered from spanking in their childhood?

    i ought to countercheck if the text truly is a quotation from ben stein, which i herewith admit i did not do (yet). so i hope i do not do him wrong.
    whether these are his words or not, it has been interesting for me to think about them, and i hope to read some of your thoughts to – sometime.

  11. True American

    I thought the money-changers were cast out of the temple. Who let this one back in?

  12. Hailey

    I think the point of this whole story is to make you think. Maybe things were added by someone else, but it all is a good point. Also it was spocks grandson that died, and there was never proof weather it was a suicide or accident. So know one can say one or the other. The point is people only call out for God in a time of need. When every thing is going good nobody needs God, right?

    There once was a man who kept putting God on the back burner. God kept asking the man to spend time with him, but he always was too busy. One day while walking through the park a Grizzley bear appeard and saw the man. he chased after the man until he could run no further. The men then stopped and in his tracks nelt down and prayed, “Lord please help me, save my life!” and God replied, “But you never want to spend time with me, and you always turn away from me, why should i help you now?” the man said “i promise i will pray every day, just please make this bear a christian!”
    Then the bear nelt down and folded his hands together and said “Dear Lord, thank you for this meal you have provided me with, amen”

  13. Hailey

    also, lets remember the bible is the number 1 best seller in the world! the whole world!

  14. Matt

    I agree with some of the text above, though the last half of it isn’t from Ben Stein, and I find the most wrong with it. Not that it doesn’t have any valid points, it’s just missing the big one: does it matter if God exists? I mean, seriously, think about it for a minute. The Bible has many valid points and good advice, and if God doesn’t exist then that means humans wrote it, not to mislead other humans, but to try and pass the point that we can be kind and decent, and that, yes, we can change the world if we put our minds to it, and it was the first general rulebook for common decency. Just because you are atheist doesn’t mean that you can’t learn from it, but just the fact that God is mentioned keeps you from recognizing any good points in it. I say that we stop pointing the finger and blaming one another and saying this person or that person is bad because what they do or don’t believe and, instead, try and make the best of what we have. This point should be recognized most by atheists, as they know that no higher power exists and that there’s no one else out there that will save us from the hell that we’re making, and that just a little less anger and a little more charity from each individual person will build up and help for the better as a whole, and for those who believe in God and know that He exists and will save us, it doesn’t mean that they should sit back and stay as they are. Don’t you think that God wants you to be happy now, and don’t you think it would be nice to help a little in making the world a better place to live? The only people to place blame upon are the ones placing blame, which, of course, is a foolish cycle none should enter. It’s not like it’s hard, just lose the aggression. People make mistakes, and getting mad won’t help anyone. Has it ever? Also, if someone has a differing belief or idea or way of life than you or what you agree with, it doesn’t mean that you need to hate them for it. For you Christians, remember when you see other people that you disapprove of, that judgment is best saved for God to do, because what man is sinless enough to judge another? And for you atheists, if you see another person that you dislike, just let them be, mindless aggression never solved anything, and the worst that can come of it is more people dead, more perfectly good minds and thoughts and aspirations wasted and destroyed. Basically, what I’m saying is, God or not, does it matter? Just be nice, help your fellow man, even a little can mean the world at times.

  15. Dante

    Concerning the comments that were made by everyone I have a question to ask all of you. How do you know that an architect exists? ANSWER: you see the building. How do you know a painter exists? ANSWER: You see the painting! How do you know God exists? Answer: look in the mirror, out a window and at your families and see the creation! If God exists (and He does) how do you think you will get to heaven? why do you think that God would let anyone into His Kingdom? Do you think that you should be a good person? Have you ever told a lie before? (that makes you a liar) have you ever stolen anything before in your entire life even if it was as small as a pen? (that makes you a thief) have you ever used God’s name in conjunction with a curse word (taking his name in vain)? that’s blasphemy( acknowledging that God gave you life, family, friends, food, etc..and using His holy name as a curse word is a terrible offense to God) Jesus said “You have heard that it was said, “Do not commit adultery” But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”(Matthew 5:27-28) have you ever looked at a woman/man with lust? then by your own admission you’re a lying thief and a blasphemous adulterer/adultress at heart and you will be judged by Almighty God on judgement day! will you be innocent or guilty if he judges you by the Ten Commandments? the truth is that the Bible says that it is appointed to man to die once and then the judgement and the soul that sins shall surely die. that means that everyone will be condemned before God on judgement day and sent to Hell if we are judged by His Holy law. Here’s the amazing truth! God loves you and I so much that He gave His Only Begotten Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for every sin we have ever committed agaqinst him that whoever repents of their sins ( forsaking their sins hating them as God hates them and turning to God broken and in humility) and believes in Christ Jesus who died for our sins taking the very wrath we deserved that we would have Eternal life in him! God in his infinite love chose to die for fallen man that we would be reconciled to him because we could not and cannot do it ourselves. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23). Jesus is the way, the truth, and the Life. No man comes to the Father except by Jesus Christ! God Loves you and gave himself up for you that you would have eternal life in Him!!! God’s not willing that anyone should perish, but that everyone should come unto repentance. Don’t reject God’s Love shown in Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and ressurection from the dead!

  16. Dan the Patriot

    It amazes me that some read Ben’s text and immediately look to strike calling names and judging. Ironically thats part of the issue he’s pointing out, so of course the flames will curse the water.

    I interpret what he’s saying to mean that people are too sensitive, because everyone is so passionate about being “Individual”, that there is a progressive and perpetuating suffering ongoing and to come. We’ve lost focus on basic “Anchoring values” and have begun replacing or modifying them so that “We’re different”. The comedy is that changing your values doesn’t make you “Different”. What you make of your life makes you different!

    Stein talks about the Christmas tree as an example of tolerance, he doesn’t choose to strike at it to be “Individual”. Afterall isn’t taking “God” out of the pledge of allegiance only desired because “Maybe I don’t believe in god, So I shouldn’t HAVE to hear it in MY classroom”. The sad thing is, this country was founded by FREE men and women, of which happened to be Christian. They created a FREE way of life, FREE speech, religious FREEDOM. They could have written their own constitution to say thou SHALT believe in THIS god or THAT (Does Taliban sound familiar?), no one DEMANDS you say the pledge of allegiance, but its a Christian founded nation, if they want it in their public schools and theres nothing physically or mentally harmful to those around who don’t, then it should be allowed.

    BUT, the FREE men and woman apparently seemed to have cast a curse upon themselves as time progresses on. The system of freedom and democracy that they put in place is used AGAINST the moral or those with positive values of “Be nice to one another”. If you don’t believe it, look at the prison systems. The legal Checks and Balance system is choked to death by legal appeals by inmates that have the RIGHT to an education even when incarcerated, a RIGHT to an attorney (All RIGHTS of fairness and freedom). Therefore, those without solid morals, can use the “Fair” system against those WITH morals that created it.

    Not disciplining children physically is a romantic but impractical belief. Spankings are a non-permanently harmful way of teaching offspring that the world does not revolve around THEIR desires…aka they are not allowed to do what they please as children, nor as they become adults…good lesson to be learned. For instance, the LAW SAYS: DO NOT STEAL….people know it, try not too…but still break it. When is the last time you have grabbed an egg out of boiling water? Do you hate the water or the stove because it taught you OUCH don’t do that again?

    Did Ted Bundy say “I kill people because I was spanked.”? Interview children and adults about the spankings and they will not tell you they hate their parents, and you will not see a behavioral deficiency because of the occurrence. You will find people that love and respect their parents, as you respect the water in the pot.

    Our system is breaking down because it was built by Free people for ambitious, respectful and disciplined human beings. Unfortunately it is impossible to believe that society can be trusted with such requirements. Because everyone in it is “Individual” and it shouldn’t apply to them.

    I agree with one of the above posts, the bible, regardless of what degree of one’s belief in god, is a great foundation for decency among mankind. So HOW can something good for MANKIND be removed because of an “Individuals” opinion that they don’t have to read/agree with it? I don’t like to eat vegetables…but that personal opinion doesn’t mean I can take them off my plate.

  17. Damian Gajardo

    I think you are both right, but there is a circle in which you are agnostic and the other is beleiver, so who created teh circle you are in, how do I prove it?, with FAITH.

  18. The seed of this rumor was undoubtedly planted when Dr. Spock’s grandson Peter took his own life on December 25 in 1983 by jumping from the roof of Boston’s Children’s Museum.” (I REMEMBER THAT MYSELF). WELL MAYBE BEN STEIN HAS NOT WATCHED TV IN TWO YEARS WITH THE NICK AND JESSICA REFERENCE BUT WHATEVER YOU DO PLEASE DO NOT LET THE ERRORS DISTRACT YOU AWAY FROM THE REAL MESSAGE. THAT’S ONE OF THE MAIN TOOLS USED(DISTRACTION). WE HAVE A TENDENCY TO DISECT THE MESSAGE AND THROW THE BABY OUT WITH THE BATH WATER. BOTTOM LINE RE: {Billy Graham’s daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her “How could God let something like this happen?” (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response.
    She said, “I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He leave us alone?”} IF WE NOTICE SOME PEOPLE ARE SEEING RELIGIOUS IMAGES IN PIZZAS, FRUIT, VEGETABLES, SHADOWS ETC. GOD WILL USE ANYTHING AND ANYONE TO GET OUR ATTENTION AND IF THIS IS WHAT IT TAKES THEN I AM GLAD THAT I SERVE A RISEN SAVIOR WHO HUNG BLED AND DIED FOR US ALL AND THAT AS LONG AS WE CONFESS OUR SINS AND REPENT, AND CONFESS JESUS CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR SON OF GOD THEN WE WILL BE SAVED. REMEMBER 2TIMOTHY 4: +1 I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at[a] His appearing and His kingdom: 2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. 3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. 5 But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.”
    AS FOR THE COMMENT THAT “BEN STEIN SHOULD STICK TO GIVING AWAY HIS MONEY” I AM SURE HE IS DOING JUST THAT! BUT I AM GLAD THAT SINCE HE IS IN THE POSITION TO GET THE WORD OUT AND THAT HE IS USING HIS POWERS FOR GOOD INSTEAD OF EVIL (AT LEAST THE JEWS ARE ACKNOWLEDGING THE CHRISTIANS)BECAUSE THE TIME WILL COME WHEN WE ALL WILL WISH THAT WE HEEDED HIS WARNING. WHOEVER WINS THIS PRESIDENTIAL RACE WILL NEED EVERY ONE OF US TO TURN BACK TO GOD BECAUSE THE TIME IS AT HAND. AND BUSH IS PLACING DEBTS ON AMERICANS THAT WE CAN’T COVER. WE OWE SO MANY PEOPLE NOW THE GOVERNMENT IS BUYING STOCK IN THE BANKS. WE ARE IN BIG TROUBLE NOW. WE OWE CHINA AND GOD KNOWS WHOELSE. SO WHATEVER WE DO GO BACK TO GOD. PLEASE. CONFESS JESUS CHRIST AS YOUR PERSONAL SAVIOR. REPENT OF YOUR SINS. GOD HELP US ALL!!!

  19. Pingback: Ben Stein Christmas Commentary | The Shanks Dimension

  20. Gary

    Ben Stein:
    I commend you for all that you said in the commentary. All of it is true and we Americans had better wake up to the truth before it is too late. That is if it is not already. To all the commentaries that say God does not exist: Look around you idiot. How do you think all this got here. Certainly not by some “chance”. All creation groans inwardly for the manifest sons of God. We who have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ are overcomers. By the blood of the Lamb, by the Word of our testimony, and we love not our life, even unto death. Ultimately God wins. And that my friends, makes me smile. Life is so precious. Take care of your loved ones. Cherish the moments and hours and days that you have with your families. Let God reign in your hearts – fully. He gave His life for us by taking the punishment that we deserve(d) and saving us from death, hell, and the grave. Our sin has brought this nation to where it is today. If we would but turn and repent and seek God for our answers, He would hear us from heaven, forgive our sin and heal our land.

    Thank you Ben Stein. You are right on brother.

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