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Sunday, June 23, 2013
(Going online only)
I read the commentary, “When atheists pray,” by R. McNeil Foster in the Opinion section of June 15 and felt compelled to respond.
I found Foster’s commentary not only spiteful, but also quite inaccurate.
Atheism is not a religion. Atheists believe there are no supernatural beings exerting control over or monitoring humans, and thus, we have no need for religious dogma. If you wish to describe an atheist as a “devoted believer” in anything, it is in free thought, justice, humanism and a respectful exchange of ideas among others.
If others choose to pray and worship in private or public, atheists are fine with that. All we want is for our local, state and federal governments to observe the separation of church and state. Our Founding Fathers had witnessed the consequences of mixing government and religion, and almost to a man, they agreed separating the two led to a healthier existence for both.
Do “Atheists spend vast sums of money to promote their own religion in their war against those who profess faith in any other religion”? Setting aside the inaccuracy that atheism is a religion, I refute we are at war with anyone. I would also pose the same question in return. How much do various religious organizations spend in advancing their own agendas?
As to the litany of questions Foster poses involving prayer, I am sure there are “fair weather” atheists, just as there are “fair weather” religious people, but in the main, an atheist does not stop being atheist and pray when times are hard or tragedy strikes.
I have never been in combat, but I have experienced hard times and tragedy. Neither prompted me to abandon my principles. Instead, I dug within myself to find the fortitude to overcome and survive.
There is no conspiracy, no “spring offensive” or “holiday offensive.” We are not out to get you. Are some atheists obnoxious? Yes, but that can apply to people of all persuasions. Like most religious people, atheists have much to offer our communities, and if you take an opportunity to talk to us, I believe you will find we have far more in common than you might think.
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