Regarding the recent thread of readers’ letters concerning religion, I would like to add four points.
It has been put forth that, throughout history, atheists have been responsible for more deaths than religious people. While I think this assertion is quite questionable (considering The Crusades, The Inquisition and The Holocaust — to start with just Christianity), I think an important point is that no atheist guilty of genocide was killing in the name of atheism.
On the contrary, the many millions of deaths attributable to religious people are almost without exception committed in the name of religion.
There has been an accusation of Bible cherry-picking, but I would like to point out that nearly all Christians are cherry-pickers:
Do you believe the universe is 6,000 years old?
Do you believe slavery is acceptable (Leviticus 25:44-46)?
Or that every man is free to sell his daughter into sexual slavery (Exodus 21:7-11)?
Or that wives should be submissive to their husbands in everything (Ephesians 5:21-32)?
I could go on and on, but if you answer “no” to any of the above, you’re a Bible cherry-picker, too.
Grant Piper, in his March 21 letter, “Honorable human destination,” mentioned Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. I would like to add Sam Harris, particularly his books “End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation.” Both are excellent; the latter, more an essay than a book, can be read in an hour and should be read by believers and atheists alike.
I’d like to remind religious people that they, too, are atheists.
Do you believe in Zeus? Thor? Rah? Poseidon? Neptune? Of course not. You know such beliefs are ridiculous. You’re an atheist with regard to all the thousands of gods that history has rightfully relegated to the dustbin.
We atheists just take it one god further.
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.