Losing our faith

As a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community founded by the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, I would like to extend my wishes to all Christians celebrating the birth of Jesus (peace be on him) — the one who lifted the morals of the society of his time.

Sadly, with every passing day we are moving away from his true teachings. Now we have entered an era where materialism is attaining new heights, but rarely we come across a person who is satisfied with his life and frustration has achieved new heights on national and international levels.

On the surface things look attractive but deep down we all know that everything that glitters is not gold. Analysis would reveal that the real cause of these exasperations is decline in moral behavior — what Jesus once taught. World challenges like embezzlement, anti-Semitism, anti-Muslims, fascism, juvenile delinquencies, problems of the elderly, immigration crisis, international unrest, relationship problems, grudges and hostilities are all a direct result of the decline of the moral values and unethical choices made in life.

We all want to live in a world where we have peace at all levels but most of us are running away from the means that lead toward a beloved community, religion. Surprised? Yes, all champions of humanity, be it Jesus, Moses or Muhammad, worked to lift the morals of the people to form a peaceful society. They addressed the root cause of restlessness in individuals and the society at large. They rooted out the burden of racism, injustice, selfishness, immoral and indecent practices by reforming individuals from within.

I hope during this important season we realize the importance of Jesus’ message too. The solution to all our problems lies in the recognition of our one God.

Rafia Waraich

Altoona

Shedding a label

I’m disturbed by the headline “Killer discharged” over the picture of Jeffrey Smith in the well-written article by Dan Holtz on Dec. 8. You have associated the label “killer” with this man, who killed once 32 years ago. In fact, Dan’s article presents a story of a man who has done his time, “gone through steady progress” and is no longer the same as he was when he was 31. Included are 17 affirmations of effort, reform and success.

The diagnostic categories associated with his behavior, ASPD and SSD, have their roots in shame, self-loathing and fear. Hanging the banner “killer” over him as he graduates from the program seems to be just furthering and deepening the shame. Greg Fahrman, the victim’s brother, correctly offered the key is keeping off drugs and alcohol. There is another key: Smith’s experience of social acceptance, acknowledgment and support of who and how he is today. Key is that we, as a community, provide thousands of affirming messages, enough to drown out the ancient deep self-loathing messages of “not good enough” he likely has (we have) battled for so long.

I suggest an alternative headline: “Time + effort = change.”

Ron Welsch

Menomonie