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September 21, 2023

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Actually, there are some good reasons to believe

In the past few days, there have been many articles regarding religious practice. Unfortunately, some of these articles, in particular Aaron Urbanksi’s [“We need to leave religion behind,” Sept. 20], suggested that people only practice religion out of fear, coercion and blind emotion.

Urbanski wrote that “religion ” is the most dangerous and divisive ideology in the world today.” We acknowledge that some religious people in the past have been coerced by force or by emotion into doing things that weren’t consistent with what their religion teaches. But religion itself is not the cause of the problem. The problem occurs when people are misinformed or misled about their own religion, which, in turn, may provoke them to commit harmful acts.

When considering the amount of religions in the world today, Urbanski asked the question, “Which faith is the one to choose?” and claims that religious people have no evidence to support their faith. However, Urbanski never addressed any arguments as to why God exists or why a certain religion is true.

While we cannot provide those arguments here, we do want to provide some evidence that Aaron did not consider. Historically, Jesus of Nazareth really lived and proclaimed himself Messiah of the Jewish tradition. He worked miracles then and continues to work miracles through his church. This, along with any historical evidence, requires some trust in the testimony of the eyewitnesses. If we do not believe the testimony of others, we eliminate much of what we know about life. For instance, how do you know when you were born? We take these things to be certain because we trust in the accounts of the Apostles. Either Urbanski has ruled out all testimony as evidence, or he needs to give some reasons why he mistrusts so many witnesses.

Aaron also makes the statement: “Only one religion can be ‘true’ – this should give religious people pause, but it never seems to.” It’s interesting that when Pope Benedict XVI recently reiterated the belief that the Catholic Church is the Truth, a belief which Catholics/Christians have held since Pentecost, it caused a heated media blitz. However, when a self-proclaimed nonreligious person makes the same claim (that there is one true religion) in The BG News, it is seen as rational.

And we know that being faithful to truth can produce a great amount of good in the world. One example, which has been used in several columns, is the heroic virtue of Mother Teresa. She proves that religion is not all about emotion since she did not feel the presence of God in the later years of her life. But she didn’t doubt. She continued to believe and practice her faith firmly, even when she didn’t “feel” anything. And now she is well on her way to being canonized a saint.

Religion is not on its way out. Interest in religion is still very strong in our society, and if you really want to find out why, you might consider more carefully the reasons that the religions themselves give.

Lauren Walter is a senior majoring in integrated language arts, Teresa Pangle is a graduate student studying history and Richard McNeillie is a graduate student studying philosophy. Send responses to their column to [email protected].

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