Outdoor downtown

Re “One vision for downtown” (Editorial, July 19):

I’ve been visiting Reno at least once a year since 1981. It’s sad but I have to agree with the articles. All the small, friendly old-time casinos have disappeared never to be replaced and many left vacant. But nothing deters me from returning to my beloved Reno. Its outdoor appeal is what brings me back over and over. Big giant cement-and-steel buildings work in a city like Vegas, but I prefer looking at what God has left for us to enjoy. From Mount Rose to Virginia City to my daily walks all the way from my casino room up to Rancho San Rafael Park, and, of course, the Truckee River, I spend more time outdoors than indoors. (Say hello next time you see me walking in my Hawaiian shorts up Virginia Street. Is it opened yet?) But nothing of course comes close to Lake Tahoe. Make a campaign about tourists visiting there. Or better yet, I’d do a commercial for nothing about my favorite city Reno, and I was born in the Bronx and still live in Jersey. I’ve visited Reno over 50 times, and I hate Vegas because I can’t walk there, and it’s too damned crowded.

John Garzino
Carteret, N.J.

Fish story

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

I’m glad I didn’t respond to Jake’s article.

I would have said Cod is not there.

Nor are Tuna, or other large fish which are being annihilated by Fukushima Fallout and pustulent pollution.

I almost Floundered into sending that off to you.

However, to most anyone with even a teensy analytical mind, the universe seems far too divinely orderly for me to believe that God does not exist.

If you recall, before we jumped into this experimental Vat of Universe, just before we went, God told us we would not remember. Or at least the slow ones among us would not remember …

Awwww, crap, did I just let the cat out of the bag?

So let me ask you instead, do you think there is an afterlife?

Life/Spirit is the only antientropic thing there is. Food for thought?

Craig Bergland

Brain damage

Re “How the West was Won” (Feature story, July 12):

You did an excellent job of outlining the problems with Nevada’s funding, and overall governance, of higher education and how other states are moving ahead with innovative policies while we appear to be waiting for ideological one-liners to manifest. One addition you should also note, is that Utah also hired away the University of Nevada, Reno’s renewable energy policy scholar, Chris Simon from the Department of Political Science. While not as directly related to immediate impacts on the state’s ability to diversify the economy, Idaho just lured a prominent environmental literature scholar, Scott Slovic, as well as his wife who ran our overseas scholars and education office. Our own department also just lost its Chinese politics scholar to Hong Kong. The Nevada brain drain appears to be accelerating.

Derek Kauneckis

God loves Jake

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

No amount of intellectualizing or even reading scripture will bring you closer to God if you have a closed mind and heart. God is found through the heart (or soul) rather than through the brain (or mind). This is because God is not bound by the laws of the physical universe that he/she created.

You must have an open heart to experience God—you must let God in. Like any other relationship, you have to be open to connect and feel the love.

Atheism is not a set of moral principles or beliefs, but rather the absence of belief in any deities. Atheism cannot be “deepened” because there is no underlying theology—it is simply disbelief.

When asked the question “What is the opposite of faith?” Salman Rushdie replied: “Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief. Doubt.”

Doubt shows courage and questioning. Disbelief shows fear.

Jake is right in quoting Hebrews 11:1, “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” The evidence lies in Love.

Why not take a Leap of Faith? Why not ask yourself, “What if God is real? What if God really does love me and the world, imperfect though we may be? What if I love God back?”

One of my favorite teachings is from 1 Corinthians 13:12-13, “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

In other words, we can only see a reflection of God now, but will know God fully in the afterlife. Until then, faith, hope, and love stay with us, but the greatest is love. God loves and believes in you, Jake, whether or not you have faith and hope.

Lizbeth Trotti

Free the oil companies

There is some good news: fuel prices are down. However, this is little consolation for the millions of Americans who are worrying about finding a job and paying their bills. And let’s be honest, gas prices still aren’t cheap. The national average is still above $3.30 a gallon. While most Americans understand that energy prices are a big part of our economy, some people might not understand Washington can impact these prices. Take for example President Obama’s effort to raise taxes on American oil companies. These taxes get passed along to each of us in the form of higher prices at the pump. With the slowdown in the U.S. economy over the past few years, energy needs to get cheaper, not more expensive. No one understands this better than the people of Nevada. Our state continues to have the highest unemployment rate in the country at 11.6 percent. Higher energy taxes aren’t going to bring new jobs or power the economy.

Celeste KnowlesReno

Don’t be a hater

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

Well, I’ve struggled with faith, but I like a quote from Will Durant, himself a “reluctant” atheist: “We are driven to conclude that the greatest mistake in human history was the discovery of ‘truth.’ It has not made us free, except from delusions that comforted us and restraints that preserved us. It has not made us happy, for truth is not beautiful, and did not deserve to be so passionately chased. As we look on it now we wonder why we hurried so to find it. For it has taken from us every reason for existence except the moment’s pleasure and tomorrow’s trivial hope.”

I’ve tried to remove the idea of God from my life, but what I ended up doing was removing organized religion. It’s not that I fear my own extinction; I have my doubts about an afterlife. But I find the world ugly enough these days to prefer to believe that someone somewhere is in control, and there is a reason for all the bad things that happen. I may be deluded, but I prefer these days to live in a state of a delusion that is somewhat comforting. I have given up the search for truth. It’s not really worth finding. I do find some (not all) atheists similar to sadists who would pull the wings off of flies. Why would anyone want to obliterate whatever hope helps get other human beings through this vale of tears?

Maddalena Colautti