Letters for Tuesday — January 17, 2006

• Atheists entitled to their own beliefs

• A question of origins

• Making choices

Atheists entitled to their own beliefs

In the Jan. 8, 2006, Garden Island, Bettejo Dux says that she has “been called an atheist and a great many other nasty … things.” As an atheist, I feel it is necessary to comment on this remark.

It is a sad fact today that atheism is equated with evil or “nasty things.” Even some dictionaries define atheism as “wickedness” (Merriam-Webster) or “immorality” (American Heritage Dictionary). Fighting ignorance and bigotry becomes even more difficult when reference sites make such judgmental and unfounded accusations against a group of people whose only crime is that they don’t believe in gods.

Some surveys have indicated that as much as 15-percent of the population of the United States is made up of atheists and agnostics. That’s over 40 million Americans! People need to wake up to the fact that not everybody shares their religious belief. Often, when people learn that I am an atheist, they say, “I’ve never met an atheist before.” My reply is that they have probably met many more than they realize. We are everywhere. We are in your schools, stores, workplaces, and even in your churches. Some of your best friends or closest relatives may be atheists. And we are just as good, generous, loving, helpful, charitable, and trustworthy as any non-atheist.

Here is an example which clearly shows the uphill struggle that atheists face in this country. In 1987, then vice-president George H. Bush was interviewed in Chicago by a reporter named Robert Sherman. Bush was quoted as saying, “I don’t know that atheists should be considered as citizens, nor should they be considered patriots.” This absolutely moronic statement from the future Commander in Chief of our country was a major turning point in my own life … both politically and religiously. At the time of that interview, I was in the 17th year of my career in the United States Army. I was a proud American soldier and this … person .. .was telling me that I was neither a citizen nor a patriot. I hope that I meet Mr. Bush one day. I will raise my left sleeve so that he can see the tattoo I have on my upper arm. It is an American flag with two banners which say “US Army 1970-1990.” I will stick my tattoo right in his face and tell him, proudly, that I am an American Atheist.

Privately, Bettejo has apologized to me for her words. She has acknowledged that they were “cruel and stupid.” I can easily forgive her because I understand how it happened. Our culture continues to equate atheism with evil. The leaders of our country help to perpetuate this irrational bigotry. The word ‘atheist’ is spat out as an epithet. Bettejo expressed herself poorly and recognized her mistake. George H. Bush, on the other hand, has never (as far as I know) apologized for denigrating the patriotism of millions of American citizens.

  • Brian Christensen

Making choices

I don’t believe for a moment that Doc Smith is having trouble voting (TGI 1/6/06). However, he does not get to define how the rest of us think. For example, nobody is “for” abortion or illegal immigration; but, there are important differences over how we believe people facing such acts of desperation should be treated. If you want to play the “strict father” to them and others who look different, think different, or talk different, and teach them a lesson, punish them, or just kick their teeth in, then by all means, hop on the right wing bandwagon (Just know that it has several flat tires right now). If you value protecting property higher than protecting people, then “go right young man, go right!”

However, If you favor protecting the environment, advancing civil rights, developing an energy policy that aids citizens; not corporations, changing the course of a war gone terribly wrong, allowing the promise of stem cell research, not legislating morality, not giving huge tax breaks to the wealthiest when we are wallowing in deficits and war costs, the return of precious freedoms surrendered in the current management of the Patriot Act, appointing federal and Supreme Court judges within the mainstream of American values, having a less secret and more accessible government, having women—not aging white men—decide what happens to their own bodies, health care for the ones who need it most, providing the funding for, and removing the handcuffs slapped on teachers by, “No Child Left Behind,” having real, not imagined security, or doing just anything compassionate or living Aloha, then the choice is clear.

If you favor all of these or if just one of them is your major issue, only one choice will ultimately satisfy; and it ain’t the party that is busy attacking its own moderate leaders.

  • Pete Antonson

A question of origins

The Big Bang? Are you serious? All known explosions decrease order and structure and increase chaos.

If our solar system formed from the same cloud of gas our sun and planets should be very similar in their chemical makeup. However each planet is unique.

Since the sun is 98-percent hydrogen and helium, the Earth, Mars and Venus should have very similar composition. Instead less than 1-percent of these planets are made of hydrogen and helium.

If our solar system came from the same cloud of gas, all planets should rotate in the same direction. But Pluto and Venus rotate backwards while Uranus is tipped on its side and rotates like a wheel.

Also all moons should rotate their planets in the same direction. But at least 6 of the planetary moons have backward orbits while Neptune, Saturn, and Jupiter have moons that rotate in BOTH directions. Four planets have rings while the others do not and each planet is totally unique in its composition. The moon’s elements are too dissimilar from the earth’s and the earth appears to have been fine-tuned for life.

If you adjust any of the following even a little bit, life is impossible.

a. The mass of the earth and the speed of the earth’s rotation.

b. The earth’s gravity and magnetic field.

c. The thickness of the earth’s crust.

d. The gravitational reaction of the earth to the moon.

e. The combination of oxygen to nitrogen in the atmosphere and many more.

I tried to give a video copy of “A Question of Origins” to the Lihu’e public library; however I was informed by the head librarian that the copy would not be put on the shelves because there would not be enough people interested. Are we being censored? Truth and facts are absolute. They show the handy work of an awesome Creator God. Seek truth and you will find it.

  • Linda Saker

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