Violence in the name of faith

Tokyo

Regarding Greg Blossom’s Oct. 18 letter, “Christianity not without violence“: The barely disguised contempt that Blossom displays toward people of faith, and toward Christians in particular, in his “critique” of Jennifer Kim’s Oct. 7 letter (“Tolerance for hurt feelings“) suggests the sort of intolerance and prejudice that he seems to rail against.

His attempt to equate faith and belief with irrationality is itself spurious and unable to be proved. There are numerous examples today and throughout history of well-educated, thoughtful people across a broad swath of professions and pursuits, including the sciences, philosophy and politics, who have absolutely no problem whatsoever reconciling rationality and faith and would argue that if you simply look around you as well as within yourself it is irrational not to believe in some kind of higher power.

Violence perpetrated by people in the name of their faith is certainly not exclusive to any one belief or even to belief itself. Indeed, some of the worst atrocities ever committed, such as the human-engineered famine under China’s “Great Leap Forward” in which millions died of starvation, were perpetrated by people who held themselves up as avowed atheists.

Humans by their very nature are flawed and prone to act in their own interests. Jesus (of whose existence, if not acts, there is abundant evidence that is widely accepted as historical fact) advocated and lived out the principle of nonviolence.

Any person living an authentic Christian life strives to emulate these principles. That they are not always successful, and that there are some who attempt to justify their violence under a false claim of faith, does not negate the validity or value of a belief or faith.

The opinions expressed in this letter to the editor are the writer’s own and do not necessarily reflect the policies of The Japan Times.

catherine wallace