Smug look at religion ignores faith's benefits, power of miracles
I found the July 24 Los Angeles Times commentary, "We have gods because we needed them," to be patronizing and offensive. Belief in God is not "irrational and untenable."
The authors look smugly down their noses at something that gives hope and comfort, not to mention material assistance, to countless people. The building of schools, housing of the homeless and provision of medical supplies is carried out without fanfare by churches worldwide.
In religion, there are crackpots, charlatans and extremists who claim to speak for God to further their own agendas or line their pockets. But there are also the likes of Mother Teresa and Martin Luther King Jr.
John Lennon's Imagine can only be taken metaphorically. Along with "no religion," he also speaks of "no country" and "no possessions" — an impossibility.
"No religion" would mean no works of Michelangelo, no requiems or rousing spirituals, no beautiful cathedrals and no Christmas or Easter. While the authors cite studies that flout the existence of God, other studies in quantum mechanics point to the existence of a higher power.
Dr. Eben Alexander III, a University of Virginia neurosurgeon, devotes a Web site to the reconciliation of science and spirituality. Even Albert Einstein spoke of an unrecognizable force: "Behind all the discernible concatenations, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable."
Perhaps the existence of God was not meant to be proven. Jesus said, "Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet believed."
Science does not preclude the existence of God. Imagine a world where both exist peacefully.
The commentary, "We have gods because we needed them," states that babies have a sense of right and wrong and that young children have a capacity for altruism.
I want to thank the authors for unknowingly proving the presence of God in each person since birth.
Do you know why atheists say, "There is no God?" Because they do not know God.
Atheists state morality is handed down to us by natural selection; that we would be better off if we recognized religion as a "man-made construct."
A prominent atheist wrote that "ethics can vary from individual to individual." If everyone could decide his own morals and ethics, what would a thief decide? A rapist? A murderer?
The writers also suggested that St. Paul had a temporal lobe attack of epilepsy during his conversion on the road to Damascus. Yet, I have had many miracles in my life.
Twice I was scheduled to have 15 percent of my left lung removed. I delayed because my wife was already in the hospital. When I later sought to reschedule, the cancer had disappeared.
I am also still alive because God was with me in WWII. And, I have seen my mother, my brother and twice my beautiful wife since God called each home to glory.
Nineteen widows and widowers, after reading my booklet, "Do You Believe in Miracles," have told me they too have seen dead spouses. If miracles happened to you, would you still say, "There is no God?"
Now that atheists have entered the public arena with their "no-God religion" and put forth their own interpretation of St. Paul's conversion as a "brain freeze" resulting in a seizure, maybe Christians can speak out about God and Jesus without fear of being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union.
And the ACLU can go back to earning a living instead of taking it from their victims.
Orin M. Simmerman Jr.
If I was under any illusions the Herald-Leader was not anti-Christian and anti-religion, the July 24 column by contributing columnist Larry Webster on the postings of the Commandments and the Los Angeles Times commentary removed those doubts.
Any column, as the Times one did, that contends Paul's conversion on the road to Damascus was, in fact, a "seizure caused by temporal lobe epilepsy," and that "keeping the Sabbath holy has been repealed," and that "nowadays we are allowed to covet, .... we are about to go into a depression because people are not currently coveting enough," most certainly reflects an open hostility toward anyone who still finds faith a comfort in these troubled times.
Jo Allen Wheaton
Don't blame capitalism
According to syndicated columnist Thomas Friedman in the July 24 paper, it was capitalism in Egypt and Greece that produced their difficult economic and political problems.
Does that mean they should develop a more socialistic system to correct the imbalances with which they struggle?
Does it also mean that the only way America can avoid a similar fate is to abandon capitalism? Or is it possible that the social welfare state, not capitalism, is really to blame for Greece's debt problem?
J. Robert (Bob) Ross
Free market no panacea
University of Kentucky professor John Garen's recommendations in his July 18 column for Medicaid reform reflect the ideological limitations of the Bluegrass Institute, where he is an adjunct scholar.
The unregulated "free market" is not efficient, productive or ethical in all social and economic relations.
Garen would probably agree that the purpose of unfettered free enterprise is to maximize profit.
There is nothing especially objectionable about that if you are working on a small scale, within a local or regional market, and understand the moral obligations to your community. That's how a legitimate small, independent business survives. But that model is not realistic for complex corporations with concentrated political and economic power.
The goal of the corporate health care industry is to make as much profit as possible. That clashes with the interest that any civilized society has in providing affordable and effective health insurance for all.
The powerful interests represented by the institute believe your health is something to be bought and sold like any other commodity at the local market.
That is a reasonable model for swapping pocket knives or buying beans. It is not a reasonable model for protecting the opportunity every person should have to good health. Unregulated corporate capitalism logically leads to complete market domination by a few. Is that what the institute advocates?
Out of loss, inspiration
When I opened my July 16 Herald-Leader, the first headline I saw raised my spirits immensely. The headline told me that Amanda Ross' mother, Diana, had forgiven the man who murdered her daughter.
Forgiving a person after they have murdered one of our children is the most difficult decision any Christian will ever be called on to make. But the Bible tells us if we cannot forgive those who have harmed us, God cannot forgive us of our sins.
I cannot begin to know how Ross has suffered because of the murder, but I know from losing a loved one, nothing else we will ever experience can be as difficult.
Seeing someone demonstrate the strength of their faith in this way is an inspiration to every believer. My prayers go out to her and her family.
I worked closely with Steve Nunn on many pieces of legislation when he was a state representative and I was a lobbyist, and during that time he was as gentle and compassionate about his job as anyone in state government.
I don't know what snapped in his mind to cause such an act, but I know the Steve Nunn that pulled that trigger was nothing like the person who served in the legislature. I do know we have lost a beautiful person in Amanda Ross who left a mother who demonstrates her faith in a way many of us will never experience.
I thank her for making my faith stronger.
Local voices appreciated
Kudos to the Herald Leader on the July 31 Opinions & Ideas section. Each column and letter, and there were many to read, was thoughtful and insightful about the nation's financial situation.
Now, if only the self-serving individuals in Washington, D.C., would read them, perhaps they would hold us "little people" here in Kentucky in higher regard.
I wonder if Mitch McConnell ever bothers to read our opinions. He should, then maybe he'd get a better understanding of his constituents.