ben stein’s thoughts on God…

i’m usually not a sucker for chain mail (and i don’t know if this is chain mail or not but someone decided to forward it to me), but i found myself reading this and being pretty moved by it…

sorry to all of those who think this stuff is lame, but here it is:

The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary.

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 creche, 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?

Funny how when you forward this message, you will not send it to many on your address list because you’re not sure what they believe, or what they will think of you for sending it.

Funny how we can be more worried about what other people think of us than what God thinks of us.

Pass it on if you think it has merit. If not then just discard it.. no one will know you did. But, if you discard this thought process, don’t sit back and complain about what bad shape the world is in.

My Best Regards.

Honestly and respectfully,

Ben Stein


here are some sites that i’ve found that add validity to stein’s thoughts in the preceding letter.

herehereherehere & Ben Stein’s Homepage


22 responses to this post.

  1. Wish he had really said all of that. Would have been great!



  2. can anyone confirm or deny that ben stein said any of these things?


  3. Ben Stein’s official website is
    What he did write is on 12/18/05 Christmas. Only 25% is Ben Stein’s writings. Not that there isn’t merit to some of the mystery writer’s ideas, but it shouldn’t be stated that the entire writing is Ben Stein’s. There is something definitely wrong in society and we need to consider everything.


  4. I had the pleasure of working with Ben Stein many years ago. He’s an extraordinarily intelligent and charismatic man. (In front of my face, he charmed my girlfriend at the time – though in his defense, he didn’t know she and I were seeing each other). I respect him as a person and I enjoy his entertainment. But that’s a story for another day. Personally, I don’t think that the presence or lack of presence of God (or Bibles, Torahs, Menorahs, Christmas trees, Mangers, Korans, etc) in the public sphere has anything to do with any of this. We have done this too ourselves. But worse: we continue to allow it.

    Things will change when we take responsibility for our actions, both on an individual AND cultural level. We are the freest country in the world (so we are taught and told) yet we have used our freedoms to perpetuate the dissolution of our families (how many American children have TVs in their bedrooms?), perpetuate a sentiment of personal entitlement, allow profiteering from the rape of the earth of its precious and limited resources, assert our personal wants over the real needs of others, allow our government to bully other nations and to reject immigrants (if you’re not 100% Native American then someone in your family was an immigrant – seems too many of us have forgotten this).

    When we hold our elected and non-elected leaders responsible for their actions, when we use our democratic voice to demand the will of the people be done, and when we hold ourselves responsible for the way we act and replace our craving for material gain with a thirst for honest and real connections to people and the earth THEN we might be on the road to change. But that will be awhile yet, I believe, because we are too beholden to our Starbucks, our SUVs, our WalMarts, our debased broadcast entertainment, ourselves.

    But wait, maybe God DOES have something to do with this. Consider that GW Bush said that God told him to invade Iraq, did God also tell him to torture people in secret prisons on the soil of our enemies so as not to stain our own? Did God tell hundreds of priests that it’s okay to sexually molest young people or for the Church to sweep it all under the carpet for decades? Did God tell Hitler to exterminate the Jews? Did God approve the public flaying (skinning alive) of dozens of peaceful, pro-democracy protesters in Myanmar seven years ago? (read that again, because it’s worth the extra thought: SKINNING ALIVE!) No, all of these are examples of small groups of individuals acting in an inhumane manner and the rest of us sheep standing by and watching, or ignoring the horror before our eyes. Have you ever witnessed a parent acting abusively to a child in the supermarket but have said nothing because it wasn’t your business? Maybe you were afraid to make a scene? Maybe you were afraid others in the area will think badly of YOU for putting your nose where it doesn’t belong?

    One not need believe in God (or Jesus or Ah-la or Buddha, for that matter) to be thoughtful, considerate, kind, helpful, supportive, appreciative, disciplined, and forgiving. These, and others, are personal codes of belief and behavior available to EVERY half-way conscious person regardless of religious belief or affiliation. Yes, I say continue to keep God out of the public sphere and instead look inward for answers. When I was a child, I didn’t need a bible to tell me how to behave, I needed sound parenting – teaching be example – that actions speak louder than words. What are parents teaching their children today? – that making more money so as to buy more stuff than your neighbor is more important than fostering meaningful connections with their own children.

    This has nothing to do with God. This has everything to do with you – and me – thinking that it’s someone else’s job to fix things because we are too busy with our own personal priorities. If one is dissatisfied with what’s going on – instead of sending some chain email, why not send five emails to five friends and convene at someone’s house to start building a coalition for change? That may seem ineffective, but at least it’s active and it’s not expecting someone else to fix things. How much change can anyone expect from simply griping (or sending chain mail) or a celebrity broadcasting a “thought-provoking” message? I say, not much.


  5. i tottally agree with everything. esp. the bit about blood


  6. To Ben Stein and all those folks who have read Ben’s Stein’s much and wrongfully acclaimed letter titled MY CONFESSION.

    I have seen Ben Stein’s Letter (whether actually his or a ghost writer) circulated for too long and treated as though it is a composition of such truth and wisdom. Enough of this harmful propaganda! Please give me a few moments of your time to explain.

    I greatly disagree with Ben’s generalizing and concluding that our youth of today are incorrigible, shooting classmates, disrespecting laws and people, have no conscience, don’t know right from wrong, and don’t care about people being killed.

    Further more, Ben places the blame for this on misconstrued incidents such as no prayer in schools, a child rearing advice book by Dr. Spock, and not reading the Bible. Where does the real cause actually rest? 

    First the percentage of children in trouble is very small! Is he making assumptions about the few cases reported in the news? I find it despicable that a man of such wealth and claimed intelligence could jump to such false conclusions. I have been around children by the hundreds including some in other countries all my life due to the career I’m in. I have worked in the ghetto schools and the classy suburbia ones. I met a small ratio of real incorrigible youth. I have researched and studied for many years how children grow, learn, and develop values. The following statements represent some of my observations concerning the real issues contributing to the corruption of our youth of the world not only our nation.

    Let’s face it! A big adult beats the child and what do they learn? They learn to hit others and to be violent. Scream at a child and what does the child learn? Children look for role models and those first models are the parents. Parents, coaches, and teachers, who yell, fight, use fowl language, cheat, lie spend little to no time with the child, break the rules when they drive the car or play a game, talk prejudice about other religions or races, or gender, show little or no concern for the feelings of the child, and show no respect for the child, do reap what they sow. Lets get the facts correct and place the blame where it belongs.

    The problems we see with the small percentage of “incorrigible youth” are not caused or the result of lack of prayer in the schools, Spock’s book on raising the child (read the entire book and get his full meaning), and not pledging or respecting the flag, 

    Most prejudices I have witnessed have been promoted by some religions of various kinds. Also  greed for money, power and control exhibited by some religions, adults and parents of our youth not conducive to good role models. Look around and open our eyes and see the real world and view the role models our youth are witnessing.  Highly visible to them are the inappropriate actions of parents, adults, leaders of countries and religions, and the CEO’s of big corporations. Are you aware that the majority of wars have been brought forth on the earth by such leaders and religions?

    Yep, it’s a fine example for our youth. I see few leaders and religions stepping forward and demanding a stop to all of the blood shed and the corruption and prejudice. The majority just sit by and let it continue. These people not only set a bad role model, they allow the earth’s youth to starve, die for lack of medical care, permit power craven leaders to train children to kill and even kill them. Why do some of our youth go astray? Guess!

    Yes, Ben, it is always easier to blame the people who understand the youth and know how to relate to them rather than recognize the wonderful results when proper techniques are put into proper practice. Oh it does take more work and time do it the right way. To mention just a few like approaching youth with love, understanding, respect for their emotions and redirecting the anger into constructive channels. The adult has to take the time and energy to obtain the knowledge of how to do this. However, it’s so quick and easy to lash out at the youth and club them into submission. This is guaranteed to result in deep hidden anger that may explode later. Get real.  

    (Just to clarify the fact, I am not an atheist. Thought I’d mention that because I detected some prejudice in your treatise.) I hope you will feel moved to correct your assumptions and make them known to all who have read and heard your MY CONFESSION.


    George DeGroot

    Educator, Teacher Consultant, 
    Specialist in Teaching Methods and Communication



  7. God will not take away our freewill. He will not intervene when we are down and out, nor will he punish us with distasters. I do believe He is there for us when we sincerely and humbly ask for His guidance. He will show us the way if we are sincere but we are responsible for our own actions. Whatever our need, God will lead us to water. He can’t make us drink.


  8. Posted by Cynde McLaren on September 21, 2009 at 7:48 pm

    I do believe we reap what we sow. One day, when I get to Heaven I will be accountable for everything I did on this earth God gave me. I beleive in God. I believe He is bigger than all of this. I agree with Sharon above, “He is there for us when we need Him”. We need to come to Him humbled and sincere.
    Gods time is not our time. Who are we to think we are more knowlegable than our Lord! He left us the Bible as a Love letter to us. We learn about how to treat our children, our neighbors and those that hate us. We learn acceptable manners, guidelines for our behavior and that one day He will return.
    I suggest if you want a book that talks about floods, has violence and wars, sex, lust, and blood….read the Bible. Study the scriptures, learn about the Christ that came to save us from our sinful self. How the prophets fortold of his coming and how He lived and died for us. Yes, our selfish, sinful entitled self.
    I work for a high school and it saddens me at the lack of respect for teachers and school Admin. It breaks my heart when one of our students is killed by drunk driving. It burns my ears to hear the language that the students use. And it’s not just the boys, I have heard girls talk that would make you blush. Yes, you can find answers to all of this in the Bible. But, you have to train a child when they are small. (Proverbs 22 v.6). But, how can we today. Both parents work to have more toys than their neighbor. That leaves the babysitters and day care workers to raise our kids, Most families are almost bankrupt trying to keep up “with the Jones”. These are Christian families too! Not just seculure familes.
    Sharon above is right….”Whatever our need, God will lead us to water. He gives us our free will to drink.” How are you using your free will that God gave you. To gloify Him or to spoil yourself!


  9. I think its time for the American to look around and see how far down this nation has fallen, it didnt do it without help. We were a proud nation, other nations looked up to us. I dont think its still happening, but its not too late, I love my country,my flag, and what our constitution stands for. I love what our forefathers said, its written on walls in the capital, its written on the giant pillar in the capital, it say GLORY to our God on the North, South, East and West. There is proof of where our faith is directed. So I want to know why is our judicial system allowing so many of these things to be taken down and endevoring to forbid the name of JESUS to be said in public. Has our nation become callous and insensitive. We should be so thankful, God has given us much to be thankful for but He uses no force, its our call, He knocks on the door of our hearts He does not kiick it down!


  10. I respect you imensely in your inteligence, but i can’t believe that you believe, after 2000 yrs of mistranslation and added bull to the fantasy of being a god, let alone Jesus.
    What i believe in can be held in my hand…what you believe in can’t.
    Freedom is great, but you can’t prove anything about the exsistance of “him”…
    How cruel and cold blooded “he” is in the “stories” in the bible…what the hell.
    How can you be on “his” side when “he” supposibly asks someone to kill their son or kill thousands of people….and “he himself” kills thousands upon thousands of people in “his” name.
    If “he” is so great and wonderful, why didn’t “he” make a world that had no faults and everything was perfect?…what a joke.
    Kill these people and keep these…doesn’t make any sense at all.
    We’re not supposed to be prejudice, but “he” can be…what the hell is that all about?
    I’m not going to drag this on…it will be the same thing over and over…why, why, why,???
    I never understood that and never will.
    I do understand why people follow the fable…cause they need something to believe in, but why try to push it on those who know better.
    You just believe in the things that you were brought up to believe in…you were a child and didn’t know any better.
    The only reasons for religion is to scare youth so they listen to what the parents want them to do.
    You, of all people, have to see that.
    Come on now…who do you think you’re foolin?
    You don’t need the money or the popularity to keep this crap goin on and on….


  11. Posted by Brad Smith on November 8, 2010 at 10:41 pm

    Even for the translations of the Bible that may have differences none contradicts that Jesus was the son of man and lived, died, and was resurrected. That He came to give His life to save the world from its sin. If the Bible was just written by man to benefit themselves why was each author martyred and killed? What did they gain by professing and proclaiming Jesus as Christ? Also, if they made this whole story of God and Jesus up and it weren’t from divine guidance why can’t we prove it wrong today? Were they that smart and clever to make up such a story so many years ago that we can’t prove it wrong today? Why can’t I factually prove it right you say… because our relationship with God is based on faith? It has been proven to me but I have searched for Jesus and found Him in the Word, Church, in Testimonies, and prayer. So, how much would it mean to you if your children were robots and you programmed them to say I love you? Yet how much does it mean when out of their own free will they say it? Why doesn’t God pop out of the sky and demand us to worship Him. Well He did ..His name was Jesus..and His own people crucified Him.
    If for one moment you could pretend there is a God who created us, and this earth , I wonder do we really have the right to say how could you do this or that? We feel that way because of non-belief and our selfishness to believe fulfillment is about this life and how well we do here while we live when in reality it’s not about this life but the next.
    Every person has a right to choose what they believe in and how they want to live their life. Without Jesus I know I am about me. Even being a good citizen, voting, open doors, being a good neighbor in nice but in the end it’s really just about me. God has shown me his love through the sacrifice of His son Jesus, and my purpose which compels me to love Him with all my heart, mind, and soul, and to love my neighbor as I love myself. Yes, this is a daily battle..not going to lie.
    If someone has something they believe in that helps them on a daily basis negotiate and defeat the everyday fear, anxiety, stress, and pressure this world puts on them and their relationships, and if they have something that compels them to give back the gifts they have been given and love others as much as they love themselves, and if they have something so powerful that if they knew they were going to die tomorrow and they could HONESTLY look death in the face and say it’s ok because I know what I have been living for while I have been here and I know where I am going, I wouldn’t take that away from them. But for me, I have only found that power in my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

    For non-believers, ever witness an exorcism (not often seen because Satan’s greatest weapon is for you believe he doesn’t exist)? Ever seen a person healed from prayer? Things to think about as you search a truth. I pray that if you are following nothing or something that is not truly of God that he will reach you. Keep an open mind and heart. He loves you more than you know, and has that peace you are so searching for!


    • Posted by Pauline on December 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

      Ben Stein’s statements are either over-simplistic or tainted with untruths.
      Dr. Spock’s son did not commit suicide (his grandson committed suicide but it was due to a mental disease called schizophrenia. (not influenced by parents/grandparents. It appears that Stein is equating Madeleine O’Hare’s murder as an act of God’s wrath for her atheistic views. O’Hare was murdered for money. She was murdered by an employee. Her death was not solitary. She was murdered with her son and grand daughter.
      Quoting Billy Graham’s daughter makes no sense. Are we to believe that God did nothing to help the victims of Katrina? Bush and his Administration were given the power and authority by God to help in this disaster. Bush failed to act adequately – blame him and not God. If we are to take this
      further, let’s look at Muslim children praying in classrooms in Thailand and Malaysia. These regions were hit by the Tsumani. Now these children prayed. Why didn’t God just part the tsunami the way Moses parted the Red Sea? God gives free will. God has made man/woman custodians of the earth (see Genesis).
      Prayer was taken out of the American schools in 1962. Prior to this, let’s say 10-20 years, kids grew up with prayer in the classroom. Yet, white kids were not allowed in classes with black kids. Black kids could not enter “white” cafes or use “white” toilets. How’s that for religion in the classroom?

      What about other countries that have taken religion out of the classroom? Canada and France are examples. Proportionately, both countries have lower crime rates. Could it be that the American Constitution of bearing arms is to blame for the alarming crime in the USA?

      American, the Christian country does not act Christian – does not act fair – when it comes to treating its citizens. Look at the Tea Parties of the Religious Right protesting against Health Care for all.
      O.K, so let’s pretend that religion is back in the USA’s public schools tomorrow.
      Look at the posters: God loves all His Children. All Children are created equally by God.
      After the dismissal prayer, the white kids go home to better housing, better opportunities to study (computer use, own room) and better food -nicer neighbourhoods.

      Look, even Jesus fed the crowds before he preached to them. He warned the religious people of the day to treat everyone equally (look at all the Samaritan stories; Samaritans being outcasts). He
      told people to feed the hungry. In contrast, people like Ben Stein think that words on a wall will
      solve the indifference of the richer Americans to the poor. Stop preaching and put the words of the
      Bible/Torah into practise. Being religious will not get you into the Kingdom! Jesus will say,
      “I was hungry and you did not give me food. I was in prison and you did not visit me,”
      And the religious will say, “We did not see you, Lord.” And Jesus replies: When you do it to the least of my brothers and sisters, you do it to me.” All these quotations are from the Gospels.


      • Posted by Pauline on December 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

        I would recommend Deepak Chopra’s book, “How to Know God.”

        Dr. Chopra (medical doctor/ doctorate in physics) examines five basic concepts or portraits of
        God. (Example one would be the belief that God is powerful and his justice will damn the
        ungodly/sinners to hell God punishes, “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord.”

        Dr. Chopra explains the meaning of religion and spirituality -or how to be healthy in a religious
        way…or religious healthiness.

        Why do Buddhists decide not to give attributes to God? How do you reconcile the harsh God
        of the Old Testament with the God that Jesus addressed as “Abba” which is a child’s name, like
        Daddy and not the formal word, “Father.” What did Jesus reveal about His Father?
        Do we believe the image of God that Jesus gave, or do we revert to the Judging Harsh God (often
        to judge other humans we dislike or think sinful.

        Like everything in life….a human has to grow. We grow in relationships. We grow wiser (hopefully)
        Do we grow spiritually….Did we inherit an image of God from….Church….a preacher….a teacher…
        our parents? Have we taken the time to know God personally? Is our religion the only religion?
        Will God damn non-Christians? Do we have more in common with other religions than we have differences?

        The movie, “Yentl” with Barbra Streissand is so healthy as a look at Jewish religion.
        Jesus as a boy of 12 years was found/ or lost in the Temple. He was arguing with the elders of
        Judaism. Arguing is healthy….we grow….another opinion is expressed.

        Christians rely too much on the outmoded quotes from the Old Testament written 5,000 years ago when only the Rabbis could read and everyone lived in tents or stone houses.

        If we need to re-introduce God to children, classrooms….it must be a “healthy” God…a truly outstanding lover of His/Her creation.

        Religion has turned off so many people!!! Loving, caring, non-judging helps a person to find themselves….and find God.


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    • I am going to use this in Church the Sunday: (I can still say God in Church right?)
      Dave Aaron
      YUCAIPA, CA 92399 USA


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