Truth requires proof
Why should the polemics of free speech and religion always presume that only the pious can be offended?
Everyone gets at least one life to struggle to control against vast arrays of powers claiming to have a greater stake over the individual; familial, ethnic, social, cultural, legal, political, national, etc., as well as religious powers. What is religion but extending a claim to power over the individual in some alleged, ill-defined afterlife? Whatever violence may be done to an individual in this life is nothing compared to the violent threat of eternal damnation.
Virtually every ethnic group believes that they are the one true people. Few individuals actually make a conscious, rational choice of their religion. It is hard to change one’s religion without an existential crisis.
The “Fear of God” is religious terrorism. If you do not believe a particular way, you will suffer more than you can imagine forever. That is a violent threat. There are equally vague rewards promised for complying. Just the fear of offending family and community is usually enough to maintain religious tradition for any religion.
No religion is innocent of having mass slaughter committed in its name at some time. My parents resented being forced to go to church and told me they wanted me to make up my own mind about religion. That in itself is considered heresy by threatening the absolute claim of religious power. Like all believers, I pick and choose what I believe. I do as much of what I consider good as I can, and I choose to believe that I would compare favorably to any religious zealot.
No religious beliefs can withstand serious rational questioning. I would put up the contributions of the likes of Galileo, Copernicus, Giordano Bruno, Isaac Newton, Darwin, etc., as contributing more to the benefit of humanity and the true understanding of reality as any religious icon, and many endured as much persecution.
That so many religious believers reject those contributions as a threat to their religious beliefs is the definition of willful ignorance and threatens a return to religious tyranny. Offensive? You bet. Science is hard. Religion is easy.
— Thomas Blaney
I would like to mildly disagree with James Fidlerten regarding the “other” alternative paper in OKC (Commentary, Letters, Jan. 7, Oklahoma Gazette). I disagree with his statement, “I doubt seriously if its editors would publish what I have to say.”
This has not been my experience.
Please don’t misunderstand me. The alternative we’re talking about clearly has a very conservative bias, especially when it comes to the petrochemical industry. Too many industry “think tanks” are given op-ed space to suggest thinking was part of the process of developing their claims.
My last published letter attacked an op-ed proclaiming the absurd notion that the burning of fossil fuels is moral.
Can we not agree that it is very important to publish contrary opinions in such forums when they are willing? Let them know what you think. Send letters.
And, James, thank you for your work.
— David Grow