Letters to the editor for March 7
In response to Damian Sowers’ column on the Tribune’s Religion page Feb. 22, “Reason’s decline,” I wish to make a couple of points. In regard to his statement that “for centuries, modernization in Western societies was synonymous with secularization. Separation of church and state … has been paramount for civic advancements, scientific achievements and ethnic tolerance,” this is not strictly true. If, by Western Civilization, he means the Greco-Roman Empire upon which Western society is based, it was not a secular state, put a pagan one, with a mandated state religion. It was a technologically and scientifically advanced society that managed to control the majority of the (then) known world, in comparative peace and prosperity. Toward its decline, despite the outer trappings of religion, it did indeed become, for all intents and purposes, a secular – and incidentally – corrupt society, but then, it also fell.
If, on the other hand, he means Western Civilization since the advent of Christianity, it is still not true. During the Dark Ages after the collapse of Rome, it was the Catholic Church that preserved the learning, and, as far as possible, the civil structure, of the Greeks and Romans. Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, the church actively encourages the study of science. The Pontifical Academy of Sciences was established in 1603 and promoted the study of physical, mathematical and natural sciences. Many scientists have been Christians. (I can supply a list.)
In regard to the rest of the article, if many people are rejecting secularism and returning to religion, one can draw two conclusions. Either the majority of people are stupid and are purposely blinding themselves to what is best for them, which is unlikely. Or there is something missing in the secular and humanistic philosophy that is vital to human existence.
One last question: Ancient storytellers could not understand the differences between a rock and a tree? How fascinating. Would Mr. Sowers care to amplify upon that?
South Lake Tahoe
Friedrich Nietzsche’s “God is dead” is a secular-based idea that was the slogan of modernism for more than 200 years, so Damian Sower’s lament about the increase in belief occurring worldwide (Freethinker’s Forum, Feb. 22) is evidence to me that God truly is alive. In the 18th century, Voltaire stated that “if God did not exist, he would have to be invented,” meaning that humans need the idea of a superior being, because the ideals and conduct it brings about are controlling forces in the world. Nietzsche turns around and says that mankind has raised itself up far enough to be above the idea of a God.
So what happened? Why was the 20th century so bloody? Lives deliberately extinguished by politically motivated carnage: 167 million to 175 million; war dead: 87.5 million; Communist oppression: 60 million. Note that these deaths were motivated mostly by atheistic world views, like Hitler’s superior race, that was partly based off of the “survival of the fittest” ideas of Darwin, and Marxism that also fed off Darwinism. Modernism failed; did mankind run back to the Judeo-Christian God of the Bible? Not really. The Western man has embraced a smorgasbord of spiritual ideas that undermine true Christian faith. If modernism is considered the age of reason, then postmodernism is the age of relativism. It is in this mindset that we find ourselves at war with radical Islam. Sowers’ attempt to paint America’s battle with Islam into some extension of the crusade is unbelievable. His motive is to somehow blame religion (not Islam, but all religion).
Atheist and postmodernist have been indoctrinated by a “religious studies” class that claimed all religions are the same. This foolish handling of religions is exactly what one of the forgotten characters from the Bible has been using to his advantage. This character doesn’t care if you believe in him or not, he goes about his business deceiving, and killing man because of his hate for God. If you atheists are having trouble finding God, see if you can’t find any evidence of his enemy, Satan – he’s been busy this last century.