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Letters to the Editor

by Archives October 28, 2008

Dear editor,

Regarding Conor Lynch’s article, “The illusion of moderate atheism” (Oct. 7), which attacks Richard Dawkins’s defence of secular culture:
This has to be one of the most fallacious articles I’ve ever read.
First and foremost, Lynch commits an appeal to emotion fallacy throughout the entire article with half assertions and quote mining used to make atheism look like an agenda to strip people of their freedoms.
Secondly, to refer to Dawkins as the “intellectual equivalent of Milli Vanilli” is an insult to the entire scientific community. Dawkins is one of the leading minds in evolutionary biology, the originator of the meme theory, and countless other important ideas. Perhaps you should do some research before writing an emotionally charged article to push your radical theist views.
As for the only “truly godless nations” you speak of – how about Sweden, Norway and other atheistic European countries. How coincidental that these countries that consistently increase in number of secularists and atheists are always listed at the top of the UN’s quality of life index? Interesting that the article ignores these examples in order to push the author’s agenda.
All of the above said, Lynch is still in a major logical bid. Atheism, after all, is nothing but a lack of belief, and unless you can justify your belief in opposition to that, well, what exactly is your point? It doesn’t matter what you write about people you see to be radical secularists; if you can’t justify your own belief system, you’re still wrong. The onus is on you, and your side has been failing the last 50 years. The more educated people become, the more preposterous your ignorant claims of a deity appear.

-Andrew Berkshire

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Dear editor,

Re: Thomas Daigle’s article on Tuesday, Oct. 21, in which he advanced a politically correct rant about the fact that the recent Canadian elections were held on a Jewish holiday, he claimed that Canadians would be up in arms, if instead, the elections had been on a Christian holiday. Daigle then went on about a separation of Church and State in a culture that still hangs on to the apparent contradiction in maintaining Christian traditions.
Well . . . so what? Sure, a lot of our statutory holidays are of Christian origin. It figures, because the word ‘holiday’ actually comes from ‘Holy Day’. Many of our Christian holidays come from pagan traditions. Halloween, for example, was appropriate by Christianity as a feast where we remember the dead but it was originally a pagan harvest ritual. On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus but a lot of the rituals come from pagan celebrations of the winter solstice such as Yuletide and Sol Invictus. Yet, Christians still celebrate Christmas and stuff.
Canada retains Christian statutory holidays because 77 per cent of our population today remains Christian and Christians founded our nation. Of the non-Christians, many have Christian ancestors and so they still celebrate many Christian traditions without necessarily believing in Christ. So it makes sense to have the day off on these days, as most people will take these days off anyway. Besides, out of the others, most of them probably still appreciate having a few days off around Christmas and Easter. If you feel that strongly about it, you can go ahead and work (for regular wage) and/or go to school on Christmas and Easter. I won’t stop you!
We allow minorities to take off their high holy days too (granted, unpaid but they can make up for it, and then some, by working on Christian holidays). They respect our traditions and we respect theirs. What is the problem? If I lived in an Arab country, I would totally understand that shops would b closed on Eid.
Jews represent only about 1.1 per cent of Canadians and reasonable accommodations have been made. Sure, they could have picked another date, but if almost any date is going to offend some small segment of the population. Think of it like organizing a party: you invite 100 people and one person can’t make it but you offer to hang out with him some other date. Do you really need to change the date of the party to accommodate that one person?
Speaking of reasonable accommodation, Jehovah’s witnesses are forbidden by their religion to vote. Maybe we should just not have elections just out of respect for them . . . We could all just stay at home and read “The Watchtower” instead!
As for the separation of Church and State, I think it is a myth. In Quebec, the Church was very much intertwined with the state until recently. As I understand it, the state does not impose a religion on its citizens and we are free to practice the religion we want but that doesn’t mean that the state has to be atheistic.
Religion can and should influence politics. In fact, as a Catholic, I have to take certain moral considerations into account when I vote. To do otherwise is a sin. For instance, I can discern between the lesser of four evils when choosing which party to vote for since all parties are pro-“choice”, but to vote for a party specifically for that reason would be sinful. When anybody votes, they vote for what they think is right (I hope). So if your concept of what is right stems (at least partially) from your religion, then that should absolutely influence the choice of whom you want to vote for.
So yeah, just get over it.

Sincerely,

Jonas “THE STEAMROLLER” Graham

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