GodfEaring vs. Godless
I've read the recent exchange between Gary Bennett and Gary Miller, and found Miller's arguments unconvincing, and I disagree with much of what he said. Some examples:
Atheism is not a religion. The essence of religion is a belief in the supernatural. Atheists are non-believers. They want proof. So far, no one has any. It's that simple.
Miller pretends Bennett is equating the tooth fairy with God. He knows that's not the case, and that makes his entire thesis suspect. Miller knows very well that the burden of proof is on the believer, not the skeptic, and that the tooth fairy is a simple example to illustrate that point.
I disagree completely that recent advances in science reveal the presence of God, as Miller implies. Exactly the opposite. Science pushes the supernatural out and away as the body of human knowledge expands.
I challenge Miller to name one undisputed fact that confirms the existence of God in the life of Jesus, or anywhere else for that matter. If he's got it, he's the first in human history.
Non believers are not a miserable, despairing lot as Miller implies. I haven't met one yet, and I've met legions, who aren't exhilarated by their release from the ritualistic, liturgical straitjackets that the faithful are entrapped in.
Unlike the faithful, atheists will change their thinking as human knowledge advances. They do not insist that God, or gods or whatever else you can imagine do not exist. They insist that you prove it. Conjure up some gods from the heavens, coax them into performing a few tricks, and you'll find the atheists changing their minds. Not so, however, with the faithful. Their beliefs are immutable.
-Russell H. Krauss, Nampa
One must wonder why Mexicans celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Judging by the ever-increasing number of Mexican citizens who illegally cross our borders for jobs and a better life, it hardly seems that Mexico is independent. Mexico's dependency on the United States is causing a heavy drain on our resources and safety. Over 90 percent of the outstanding arrest warrants in L.A. are for illegal aliens. Hospitals are shutting down due to bankruptcy along our border states because illegal aliens cannot afford to pay for their treatment. Problems like these are compounded when Spanish media tell illegal aliens how to obtain "free" health care and other groups distribute pamphlets on how to successfully cross the border.
These problems are causing severe financial problems for states like California. A large portion of California's debt is traced back to illegal aliens. Many illegal aliens defraud our welfare and health care systems, leaving the public to pick up the bill.
Illegal immigration has joined high gas prices and Iraq as the most important issues in America. To help Mexico celebrate true independence, we should do us all a favor and pull out of Iraq and invade Mexico to make them the 51st. This would immediately stop illegal immigration and lower gas prices.
Obviously by making Mexico a state, anybody that left Mexico would just be moving, which is not a crime. We would be able to collect taxes from them, which would stop the financial burden that they are putting on the states right now. Just as important, we would have immediate access to Mexico's oil fields and refineries, which would immediately lower our gas prices.
Mexico would get benefits, too. They would instantly have better currency, more purchasing power and better water. More importantly, they would not have to celebrate a fake independence day each year.
Last Christmas I took my family to Mexico for a vacation and during one tour the guide asked us what day was Mexican Independence Day. Every American gringo (except moi) shouted out Cinco de Mayo. The Guide took the opportunity to correct the touristas. Mexican Independence Day is September 15, when in 1810 Mexico declared it's independence from Spain. Cinco de Mayo, however, celebrates a battle in which 4,000 Mexican soldiers defeated an 8,000 strong army of French soldiers and Mexican traitors 100 miles east of Mexico City at Puebla in 1862. Our guide made one poignant observation. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated far more in America than in Mexico. Then he told the bus, "Mexicans would not make such a celebration of a day in which so many Mexicans died."
bill ... buddy
Bill makes some good points (BW, Bill Cope, "Pope Goes the Weasel," May 4, 2005) but really dwells on the fact that the Conclave is closed and non-democratic. While that is true, that hardly gives heartache to the average Catholic. Here in the U.S., the people do not elect the president, but the Electoral College and in 2000 the Supreme Court actually determined who would be president.
As a life long Catholic, the heart ache for me came from the fact that the Cardinals voted for the most reactionary man possible, Joseph Ratzinger. This is the same gay-bashing curia member who declared that gay people are "intrinsically disordered," a theory he must have pulled out of thin air, since it totally lacks any scientific or empirical perspective. Gay-bashing is, of course, only one of his activities. Others included gagging theologians who digressed from the party line and advising American bishops to protect pedophile priests at the expense of Catholic children. The Cardinals in electing him pope betrayed the trust Catholics everywhere had in them. The election of Ratzinger to the chair of Peter makes it nearly impossible for this lifelong Catholic to remain a Roman Catholic. I sincerely wish that all gays, women and divorced Catholics would leave the Church en masse. This pope, and the cardinals who elected him, lack the integrity and credibility to be taken seriously.
Several of your writers consistently use "comprised of" or "is comprised of." Neither is correct. For example, a committee that is made up of five members may be described as "consisting of five members," or "comprising five members." However it is incorrect to describe it as being "comprised of five members." The use of "comprised of," has become prevalent in print and spoken word due to popular usage. However, I must side with George Carlin on this one and say "F**k popular usage!" [Editor's note: Mr. Kerner's asterisk, not ours.]
Not to be a statistics hound, but according to Dictionary.com, "... comprise is increasingly used in place of compose, especially in the passive: The Union is comprised of 50 states. Our surveys show that opposition to this usage is abating. In the 1960s, 53 percent of the Usage Panel found this usage unacceptable; in 1996, only 35 percent objected."