Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 6, 2013

Which contributed more to America’s greatness?

I would like to respond to Robert E. Surgenor, who claimed that I am ignorant because I quoted several founding fathers who were not religious and also because I commented that the Bible was a source of violent literary inspiration (“America’s founding fathers had reverence for God,” Feb. 4 Times-News).

Mr. Surgenor then quoted various founding fathers who were deeply religious and accused people who hold concepts, “like mine” responsible for America’s fall from greatness.

Mr. Surgenor, you are using the same basis for your statements as Norm Fitzgerald, the man whose letter (“America was founded on religion and the Bible,” Jan. 15 Times-News) I originally responded to (“History says America wasn’t founded on religion and the Bible,” Jan. 20).

The Holy Bible. Again, this is making the overall assumption that all people consider it the word of god, that all people believe that god’s wrath was fair judgment, (when it involved slaughter, suffering and murder) and that all people believe faith in god is paramount to the greatness of a nation.

In Buddhism, violence in any form is shunned. Followers learn that a cycle of karma creates a spiritual essence that carries into another life.

This continuous cycle is broken when a being reaches a state of enlightenment. In Buddhism there are many heaven realms and anyone can reach a god like state, though nothing lasts forever.

I was certainly not implying that some of our country’s founders were villains with no fear of god. Simply that they were not in support of organized religion.

The quotes I used speak for themselves. Just because someone lacks a fear of a god that you have chosen to believe, does not make them a villain.

I will back up my claim Mr. Fitzgerald, we are all very different.

A quick glance at ancient cultures show that a vast variety of beliefs were held about the nature of existence, the universe, creation and divine spirit.

George Washington’s actions further back up my claim of Christianity using violence as a tool to garnish conformity. If a solider cursed or swore, 50 lashings. A bit severe, don’t you think?

I don’t believe that we are “all sinners” as you state. I believe that we are all human beings. The product of millions of years of evolutionary biology. I believe we are a part of a natural cycle on planet earth, not apart or above it.

Religion forces constraints on people, requiring them to believe a set of ideals to gain acceptance, banishing those who don’t to an eternity in hell. To me, this weakens freedom of thought and the desire to ask questions.

Many of the events recorded in the Bible cannot be scientifically proven and defy any explanation using logical reasoning.

They also imply that violence can be used as a tool of judgment. It’s hard for me to understand or appreciate the Christian notion of a loving heavenly father that subjects his creations to harsh, cruel and violent punishment.

You did fail to mention several founding father’s contributions to science.

I would ask you Mr. Surgenor, what is more valuable to making America great: George Washington’s 14 hours a week alone, praying with his Bible, or the scientific ingenuity that produced American innovations that changed our world.

Jeremy Gosnell

Oakland

 

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