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America A Collection of Sects

Published June 11. 2011 09:09AM

Dear Editor:

Those with the power to elect our presidents and congressmen-and many who themselves get elected-believe that dinosaurs lived two by two upon Noah's ark, that light from distant galaxies was created en route to the earth and that the first members of our species were fashioned out of dirt and divine breath in a garden with a talking snake by the hand of an invisible God.

Among developed nations, America stands alone in these convictions. Our country now appears, as at no other time in her history, like a lumbering, bellicose, dim-witted giant. Anyone who cares about the fate of civilization would do well to recognize that the combination of great power and great stupidity is simply terrifying even to one's friends.

Imagine the consequences if any significant component of the U.S. government actually believed that the world was about to end and that its ending would be glorious. The fact that nearly half of the American population apparently believes this, purely on the basis of religious dogma, should be considered a moral and intellectual emergency.

And there's prognosticator Harold Camping and the millions of people who believe as he does, made a complete fool of himself. He did make millions on their ignorance.

Faith and religion is a disease of monumental ignorance and stupidity born of fear and as a source of untold human misery to the human race.

The current political force is built on an assumption that the United States is a monolithic and United Christian nation. There's no such thing-America has always been a collection of sects, not a homogeneous people of faith.

Many of the early American colonists departed Britain to escape the either or theological choices posed to them as well as the theocracies that blended sovereign and religious power to control the people's beliefs. The pressure by a subset of Christians to push for a single moral vision under the heading of "Christian" cannot be characterized other than as a drive to institute a theocracy in their own image. In short, their arguments, which are intended to summon references to the flag and apple pie, in fact are quite dangerous to a free America.

Are atheists evil? If you are right to believe that religious faith offers the only real basis for morality, then atheists should be less moral than believers. Are they? Do members of atheist organizations in the United States commit more than their fair share of violent crimes? Do the members of the National Academy of Sciences, 93 percent of whom reject the idea of God, lie and cheat and steal with abandon? And yet, atheists are the most reviled minority in the United States. Polls indicate that being an atheist is a perfect impediment to running for high office in our country (while being black, Muslim, or homosexual is not). When was the last atheist riot? Is there a newspaper anywhere on this earth that would hesitate to print cartoons about atheism for fear that its editors would be kidnapped or killed in reprisal?

Every member of Christianity, Islam and Judaism are true members of atheism. Simply because they worship a false God without a shred of evidence.

"God did not make us-we made God." It's a distortion of our origins, our nature and the cosmos. We damage our children and endanger the world by indoctrinating them. People who harbor strong convictions without evidence belong at the margins of our societies, not in our halls of power.

The goodness of God: somewhere in the world a man has abducted a little girl. Soon he will rape, torture and kill her. If an atrocity of this kind is not occurring precisely this moment, it will happen in a few hours or days at the most. Such is the confidence we can draw from the statistical laws that govern the lives of eight billion human beings. The same statistics also suggest that this girl's parents believe as you believe that an all-powerful and all-loving God is watching over them and their family.

Atheism is not a philosophy, it is not even a view of the world, it is simply an admission of the obvious. In fact atheism is nothing more than the noises reasonable people make in the presence of unjustified religious beliefs. An atheist is simply a person who believes that 87 percent of the population claim to "never doubt the existence of God" should be obliged to present evidence for his existence and, indeed, for his benevolence, given the relentless destruction of innocent human beings we witness in the world each day. An atheist is a person who believes that the murder of a single little girl- even once in a million years - cast doubt upon the idea of a benevolent God.

In America, the majority raises formidable barriers to the liberty of opinion: within these barriers an author may write whatever he pleases but he will repent it if he ever steps beyond them. Not that he is exposed to the terrors of an auto-da-fe, but he is tormented by the persecutions of daily obloquy. If he has his opinions published, he imagined that he held them in common with many others, but no sooner has he declared them openly, he is loudly censored by his opponents while those who think without having the courage to speak or write like him, abandon him in silence.


Joseph L. Koperna


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