To the Publisher:
Regarding the column “At cross purposes with nonbelievers” (Aug. 3): Karen Zautyk probably would not like having all Christians tarred with the radicalism of Timothy McVeigh or the Westboro Baptist Church. So why does she do it to atheists?
People who do not believe in a supreme being are not non-believers. We believe in love, kindness, generosity, service, compassion and all the virtues that people call good.
We also believe in reason, and in drawing conclusions based on facts. That is why belief systems that are based only on wishes concern us. Religions shape cultures. The more seriously you take any theology, the more dangerous and less responsible it becomes. Making God separate from us disconnects the vital connection between God and human values.
By contrast, living as a disciple of values that are common to us all checks excess and abuse. In other words, if we want a world in which people honor and love each other, we must act like it, whether we believe in a god or not.
If Ms. Zautyk wishes to criticize any group for pushing its beliefs on others, she should look in the mirror. In this country, theists have plastered their god on our money and inserted it into our pledge. Some Christians would like to place their nativity scene on every public lawn in the country.
People who honestly disagreed fought against some of these things, and won. Other cases will lose, deservedly. Just because there are radical atheists, just like there are radical Christians, is no excuse for bigotry.
Paul L. LaClair