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Atheists are people too

Two words: Thank you `"Atheists among us," Sept. 14`. As an atheist, I'm tired of the never-ending assessment of the person I must be due to my lack of belief in a Biblical entity. We are not without ethics, morals and many of the other oh-so-"vital" attributes required by Christians to be considered a mere loving human being. Thank you for pointing out an atheist is not the same as an anti-theist.

Heather J. Wilson, via the Internet

Gospel truth

Thank you for your article on atheists `"Atheists among us," Sept. 14`. It reminded me why I was struck by the Weekly's irreverent style. This is an article which could provoke debate at a time when conventional religion's credibility is under attack. It's the sort of subject that the right-wing daily in the City Beautiful would never touch with a 10-foot pole! I commend your courage.

Samuel Angol, Casselberry

With God on their side

I was excited to see atheism on the front page of the Weekly `"Atheists among us," Sept. 14`. There are many angles from which to approach the topic. I think you chose a safe tack resulting in a boring article.

Believing in God is absurd. Even more absurd is the belief that the God of one's own religion is real while others have it wrong.

Theism is the result of fear and uncertainty — fear of dying and uncertainty of purpose. Religious leaders exploit this to obtain power. In some instances that power is used to obtain a moral result (charity, human rights and the inculcation of mutual love and respect), but one shouldn't have to fear punishment or be promised a reward to act morally. The cause of the most violent acts in human history is religion or abuse of power cloaked in religious justification. The Muslims that attacked on Sept. 11 were not simply crazy. They had an ideology based on a religion. Radical Muslim terrorists, hatemongering bigots and our "bombs away" president all have one thing in common: They all believe that God is on their side.

Eric Fetter, Orlando

Jesus would vomit

Although I am a Christian, I am sympathetic to the concerns about local organized religion expressed by the atheists and humanists in this article `"Atheists among us," Sept. 14`. Being a newcomer to the area, I am appalled at what appears to be an unusually shallow and "plastic" Christian community in Orlando. The corporate megachurch seems to be the order of the day for a majority of churchgoers around here, and these represent a kind of commoditization of the faith that I am convinced would make Jesus vomit. However, I am concerned that the atheists interviewed seem to operate on the logical fallacy of too many either/or assumptions.

Too many atheists and agnostics seem to think that the only real choice is between un-belief and the very worst that the Christian faith has to offer. This is not the case. Not all Christians are fundamentalist morons or rigidly dogmatic jerks; indeed I would argue that genuine New Testament Christianity militates strongly against such narrow and uncharitable perspectives. It is truly a shame how "made-in-America" evangelical revisionism has truncated the real meaning of the Gospel message. It occurs to me that the disconnection between the values of love, grace and mercy that are the beating heart of Christian faith and what so many who call themselves "Christians" actually practice is what lies at the root of modern criticisms about the validity of such faith. The so-called "scientific" arguments used by nonbelievers strike me as irrelevant, since anyone with a brain knows that questions of faith transcend all attempts at empirical verification.

John Feeney, Winter Park


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