Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Letters to the Editor

Like most daily newspapers, the Journal has an op-ed page. The editor regularly writes his opinion about local concerns and beyond. There is a political cartoon each day. They reprint editorials from other papers about current events.

And then there are the letters from readers. Sometimes it is obvious that people have lifted material from their favorite political website, putting the party line into their letter. Other times it is pretty much a rant, complete with name-calling, non-sequitors, straw-man attacks, and fallacies. But mostly, it is nothing but assertions--no logic, no argument, no evidence--on all sides.

Proverbs 26:4-5 advises, "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, or you will be like him yourself. Answer a fool according to his folly, or he will be wise in his own eyes."

So, should I write replies and ask the editor to print them? Or, should I privately weep and pray? On the purely political issues I have no inclination or temptation to respond, but occasionally there are moral and philosophical foundations involved. Can pigs be persuaded to wear necklaces?

Monday, August 01, 2005

Religion and Contradiction

Recently, I had a friend tell me that all religions are right in their own way.

Now, I'm no philosopher, but that didn't seem to make sense to me. Mainly because many religions are contradictory. For example, Buddhism denies the existence of sin. Judaism says sin is central to understanding humanity. Since they believe opposite things, the Buddhist and the Jew cannot both be right.

The Law of Non-Contradiction states that "A" and "Not A" cannot both be true. Christianity states that Jesus is God. Islam says Jesus is not God. They cannot both be true.

I know this isn't news to the sophisticated apologist or the worldview scholar. But I'm amazed how often I run into this line of thinking.

Recently, I climbed a mountain (Mt. Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado). As I climbed, I thought about the common claim that "All roads lead to the same destination". I thought of the paths on the mountain, and wondered if they all would lead me to the top. I didn't know. To claim that I did know would have been both foolish and arrogant. In fact, the only one who could know would be someone who had been to the summit. Fortunately, someone who had been to the summit had come down and marked the right trail for me.

The point is that no one can know whether or not all roads lead to heaven until they die. That is unless someone comes down from heaven and marks the right road. And if that someone also points out that all of the other roads lead to certain death, the kind thing would be to help out the other hikers. How intolerant of us.