Letters for July 5, 2012

Agnostics go to hell, too

Re “Are you there God? It’s me, Jake.” (Feature story, June 28):

I, too, went to the university, but instead of Thomas Paine, read Freud’s Future of an Illusion and thought many of the same thoughts you offered. My 6-year-old cut through the intellectual bog by simply asking, “Is God like Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny?” After a good deal of seeking, I have come to peace with my spirituality and find hope in it. I am Christian and cannot speak of other approaches to the spiritual side of life.

Sorry you have been so disappointed in God and in the church as well as in the affairs of those who represent themselves as speaking on God’s behalf. All of us have reason to mourn how far human efforts have missed the mark of what faith and the gospels promise. It has been said that we should not blame Christianity for the state of the world, because it has never really been tried. You mention the doctrine of original sin. Along with original sin comes the doctrine of free will, which is intertwined with the discussion of the impact of sin in the world of which you rant. Under the doctrine of free will, God does not force anyone to believe or to be good. That to me is what being made in the image of God is about: We have the freedom to choose life or death, good or evil. Our rejection of godly lives on a very regular basis and our tendency to act in our egocentric self-interest, disregarding the harm we do, is the best support I know of for the doctrine of original sin. Persons do not engage their spirituality because of logic or reasoning; it is a right brain, not a left brain activity. The Scriptures all proclaim this: It is the child and the simple-hearted who find faith. We are urged to approach God in spirit and in truth. It is not the beautiful, proud, powerful, or greedy who find God, for the world’s standards do not apply to faith. It is usually those who are burdened by what they have done, by their responsibilities or by their fears, who find faith.

Atheism is a burden, because it leaves no room for hope. Being an atheist does not make a person smart or self-reliant or strong except in that person’s own eyes. One can proclaim all he wishes that there is no God, but that does not make it so. Since one can’t prove the existence or non-existence of a Supreme Being, or Higher Power, possibly the only intelligent choice is that of the agnostic, who is waiting for the evidence to be all in. If you want to challenge God’s existence, simply pray for the truth to be shown to you and be patient. If we continue to pray, understanding will come.

R. B. Stacy
Reno

A visionary, too

Re “Are you there God? It’s me, Jake.” (Feature story, June 28):

As an atheist myself, I was intrigued by Jake Highton’s essay. But what I’m most looking forward to is the shit storm that will undoubtedly sprawl out over the letters page for the next month or so in response to this. So sit back and grab some popcorn.

Jonathan DanielReno

Me, too

Re “Are you there God? It’s me, Jake.” (Feature story, June 28):

I agree with everything Jake said. Great essay. Thanks, RN&R, for publishing this.

Kay Warren
Reno

Ditch the books, too

Re “Are you there God? It’s me, Jake.” (Feature story, June 28):

How could Thomas Paine’s The Age of Reason confirm your atheism? Thomas Paine was not an atheist, he was a deist. That is, he believed in God based on the application of his reason on the laws and designs in nature. Deists believe the designs point us to the Designer. Deism is the opposite of atheism. Atheism teaches there is no God, and deism teaches there is a God. What aatheism and deism do have in common is the complete rejection of all the unreasonable claims made in the various “holy” books of the various “revealed” religions. Read Paine’s outstanding essay comparing deism to Christianity (www.deism.com/paine_essay_deism_christianity.htm ). This essay is found in The Age of Reason, The Complete Edition. I can’t understand how you could possibly see Thomas Paine as an atheist and his important deistic writing on God, deism, religion, etc., The Age of Reason, as an atheism-promoting book. It’s beyond comprehension unless you mistake Paine’s rejection of religion as rejection of God as too many people do. That is one of the important points deism makes clear, that God and religion are (thankfully) two very different things. Progress!

Bob Johnson
Clearwater, Fla.

A bite of the apple, too

Before we get all giddy with glee about Apple parking their big, fat corporate butt in Reno, let me ask a simple question. Why don’t I get a tax break? Why don’t other businesses already here contributing 100 percent of their property and sales taxes getting a tax break? Oh, that’s right, we’re not big enough. Apple is too big to tax. Why do huge corporations get to pit one small city against another and bid down their taxes? This is a fine example of how huge corporations get tax breaks while small businesses get nothing. GM pays no federal income tax. Exactly why are we subsidizing these huge corporations? Because they create so many jobs and are too large to fail? We would increase the number of jobs in Reno by giving the same tax breaks to any number of existing Reno businesses. And that $1 billion in capital investment is for computer equipment. Who manufactures computer equipment in Reno? I’m pretty sure they’re going to buy their $1 billion in equipment from China. This deal sounds too good to be true because it is. Reno’s greed to get Apple here is the same greed other cities have when they give huge corporations tax breaks to move to their cities. And when there’s enough greedy cities, huge corporations wind up paying no or little taxes, so who winds up footing that bill? You, me, individuals, and smaller businesses that don’t get corporate welfare.

Ed Park
Reno

Best Of, as well

Re “We’re live. You’re the Best.” (Editor’s Note, June 21):

This is the third time tonight I’ve tried to express my opinion in the RN&R reader survey. Do you have a way to keep marketers and other business interests out of this voting process? I tried to vote last year, and was met with the same difficult bullshit. I’m a longtime Verdi resident, and lived in Truckee, Calif., before this. My frustration revolves around being unable to express an opinion and vote in this important survey. Please make this survey available to me, and others who are getting derailed by business interests and others who seem to wish to make a simple thing like answering a survey difficult and convoluted. I’m guessing you realize this does not have to be. Please let me know what I can do, if anything, to cast my vote, as well as have it counted. I’m not trying to “stuff the ballot box.” I’m guessing you realize there is enough power politicking in this world, anyway. Thank you for your time and consideration.

Marsha Sidwell-Fronefield
Verdi

Editor’s note: In light of the U.S. Supreme Court’s re-affirmation of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, we no longer feel it is patriotic to block marketers and business interests from the Biggest Little Best Of Northern Nevada readers’ poll. However, if you’ll go to www.newsreview.com/reno/ballot/BestOfReno12 you should be able to make your voice heard alongside theirs. It can only be said that people who don’t vote in the Biggest Little Best of Northern Nevada readers’ poll hate America.