Only Jerry Moore can explain why in a time as troubled as this one he has spent three Sunday columns trying to demolish religious faith.

As I read his columns, I thought he was speaking about a dogmatic, exclusivist type of religion, which is hardly the only kind. Across the spectrum of many faiths there is a general acceptance that God loves all people and it is imperative for believers to do the same. While holding our personal beliefs, there is an assumption that we are not the repositories of all truth and God is certainly not threw teaching us.

Certainly there are religions that claim a corner on faith, and they can be destructive. But the faith many subscribe to has founded hospitals and healed the sick, established food pantries and fed the hungry, and built housing to shelter the poor. I haven’t seen too many atheist organizations that have engaged in similar humanitarian ventures.

In his column that appeared June 14 (“In gods we trust — but is this good?”), Mr. Moore spoke approvingly of Robert G. Ingersoll who was called the Great Agnostic. There’s a story that Ingersoll was a friend of Phillips Brooks, the Episcopal priest who wrote, “O Little Town of Bethlehem.”

Once Brooks was ill and receiving no visitors, but Ingersoll was allowed into the sick room. He said, “Phillips, I’m touched. You are not seeing your parishioners but you invited me in.” Brooks replied with a twinkle, “I expect to see my parishioners in heaven, but this may be my last chance of seeing you.”

Mr. Moore should get out among religious people and stop dealing in caricatures.

The Rev. Walter F. Smith

Lisbon

The writer represents Lisbon United Presbyterian Church.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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(12) comments

Holmes -- the real one

Well, The Rev. Walter F. Smith of Lisbon, I recommend that you should not take umbrage at the various musings of Jerry Moore. Far better to examine your own convictions and then consider whether your behavior matches what you say you believe. That, in a nutshell. Is pretty much all any of us can and should do.

I don’t know your particular Presbyterian church, but historically anyway, it appears that Presbyterians would tend to place a great deal of value on what the Bible records Jesus as saying. There are quite a few challenges to using those words as one sets a life course. I’m assuming that’s what Christians strive to do.

I hardly need to cite chapter and verse to you so I will simply remind you of such statements as those that caution against doing good deeds just to be seen by others or suggest avoiding making judgments about others lest they find those same standards applied to themselves. There are plenty more applicable verses, but you probably get the general idea.

As RDSouth has mentioned, there are some out there who seem to make a religion out of being atheist. Some would prefer to believe what they can prove and it rubs them the wrong ways to hear someone else claim to have special knowledge based on faith alone. Some people are a god unto themselves, or they worship money, fame, or some other thing. Most prevalent are people who simply love to hear themselves talk.

But in the end, no side of this argument (or any other, no matter how learned) is going to actually prove anything. You can’t prove that God exists and Jerry Moore can’t prove that God doesn’t exist.

A reminder:

Most people who seek to do good and to help their fellow humans, as well as animals, and the environment do so through secular channels. Those who engage in these activities quietly without sounding a gong to announce that they are making a donation or doing a good deed are the ones that I personally respect.

For what it’s worth, I believe that actions speak louder than words.

LAW

You would think even a retired churchman would know the difference between "atheism" and "agnosticism".

DFF: Sadism: taking pleasure from suffering caused by physical, mental, or moral means

Despite an unconvincing appeal to ""love all", the fable reveals deep intrinsic hatred.

The implied threat of eternal damnation and suffering for the "Great Agnostic", under the guise of humor, lays bare the true feelings, and character, of the writer.

Is this how "friends" speak to each other in the writer's world?

Is this "love"?

How is the WDT Editor, Mr. Jerry Moore, at fault here?

rockloper

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LAW

You would think even a retired churchman would know the difference between "atheism" and "agnosticism".

DFF:

Sadism: taking pleasure from suffering caused by physical, mental, or moral means.

Despite an unconvincing appeal to ""love all", the fable reveals deep intrinsic hatred. The implied threat of eternal damnation and suffering for the "Great Agnostic", under the guise of humor, lays bare the true feelings, and character, of the writer.

Is this how "friends" speak to each other in the writer's world?

Is this "love"?

How is the WDT Editor, Mr. Jerry Moore, at fault here?

WayneInIndy

With all due respect Rev Smith, I think your statement

"I haven’t seen too many atheist organizations that have engaged in similar humanitarian ventures."

is an incorrect characterization. First off, the population is overwhelmingly religious, so whatever charity atheists do will pale in comparison. Secondly, maybe you have not looked deep enough. There are atheist/humanist organizations that do charity work, helping to support food banks and organizations like Habitat For Humanity. I was raised a Christian but gradually became an atheist as I grew up, learned about the world, and things just did not add up for me. However, I personally give to over a dozen charities on a regular basis and donated time to Habitat For Humanity when I was a bit younger. Most of my atheist friends do the same.

rockloper

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rockloper

Atheism is simply not seeing adequate evidence that a god exists period. Atheism is not a religion or an adherence to any particular world view. An atheist would become a deist or theist if adequate demonstrable evidence is presented. That, however, does not mean that having seen this evidence the atheist would worship the god.

The only time an atheist sees worshipping a god as intolerable is when it doesn't make a separation of church and state or when a particular religion tries to impose their beliefs on others. An atheist doesn't believe in the devil any more than they believe in a god.

I commend Jerry Moore for expressing his beliefs when so many in this country feels that their religion, and notice I said THEIR religion, is not to be questioned in ANY way. As I've stated before some religious people would rather have pedophiles or morally bankrupt believers in public office than an atheist.

Your god is not all loving as you suggest as is clearly demonstrated in the old testament. If you say you are under a new covenant then you are admitting god got it wrong the first time, actually many times.

You do not need to be a religious person to "founded hospitals and healed the sick, established food pantries and fed the hungry, and built housing to shelter the poor."

I, as an atheist, have donated to food pantries that are overseen by religious organizations. Most times these donations are made by atheist individuals as opposed to atheist organizations. As was stated in the letter, there are atheist organizations in communities who do sponsor charities but again atheism is not an organized movement.

"Once Brooks was ill and receiving no visitors, but Ingersoll was allowed into the sick room. He said, “Phillips, I’m touched. You are not seeing your parishioners but you invited me in.” Brooks replied with a twinkle, “I expect to see my parishioners in heaven, but this may be my last chance of seeing you.”" Oh gee this makes me want to be a theist now - NOT!

Will this contain paragraphs?

minder

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WayneInIndy

Ditto. [thumbup]

rdsouth

For some, atheism is simply not believing in any god. For others, Atheism is a religion. They see people seeming to percieve something they can't and they find it intolerable. They are convinced that they know for a fact that this perception (by a majority of the people in the world, an overwhelming majority if you discount official Chinese figures) is false. This may be because religion is usually taught as submission to dogma rather than openness of mind. Some insist that God is a rumor (to be known only through being told) and that the devil rules (so anything you actually see or feel in the real world is probably the devil's work), and that anyone who doesn't agree must be in league with the devil. Somebody is, anyway.

WayneInIndy

Yes for most, religion is a function of indoctrination. A world religion demographics map makes this pretty obvious. Born in India, probably Hindu. Born in Mexico, likely Catholic. Born in Pakistan, Muslum. Born in Isreal, Jewish. Born in Asia, probably Buddhist. Your religion is highly correlated to where you were born and raised.

As for knowing for a fact, that is from a relatively few gnostic atheists. Most of us are agnostic atheists. We are pretty sure that gods are manmade, but are honest enough to admit that no one can know or prove their claim absolutely, one way or the other.

rockloper

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