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home : letters : letters August 1, 2014

1/24/2013 11:14:00 AM

To the editor:

Marlo Pranke's successive letter promoting a politically conservative god seems to beg for some response - partly because of exclusive truth claims, such as "only biblical Christianity tells the truth about man"... and partly because of arbitrary appeals to fear, such as claiming that failure to obey this god is the cause of personal and world dysfunction.

First, I find this ambitious truth-claim rather puzzling. Biblical fallibility would seem well-enough demonstrated by simply noting a few of those sacred but unfortunate doctrines which teach homosexual prejudice, slavery, genocide, and the subjugation of women. And unlike the American Constitution, the Bible has no mechanism for amendments - making harmful omissions and errors difficult to transcend while coaxing many to ignore the reality of these errors and continue their claim that this sacred text is the exclusive, infallible source of truth.

Fortunately, history is full of good people that helped us transcend these biblical errors. Thomas Jefferson proclaimed we are equal, independent of religion ... Alice Paul proclaimed we are equal, independent of sex... Martin Luther King proclaimed we are equal, independent of race... and last year, we proclaimed we are equal, independent of sexual orientation. Let us not make light of the fact that the problem was not just that the Bible omitted these truths, but that the Bible commanded actions against them.

Finally, I would suggest it is Pranke actively promoting relativism. To claim truth is exclusively in a book demonstrated to be seriously in error is to suggest there is no absolute truth. To dismiss science and evidence and reason in preference for faith is to suggest there is no truth. To claim that "Only God knows what is best for every individual" is to make arbitrary and un-falsifiable truth claims. And then to toss in a supreme authority, an authority supposedly willing and able to dish out eternal punishment for those who might reason otherwise...that seems the very definition of relativism.

How can reliable discoveries of goodness and truth succeed under such circumstances?

Ken Kressin

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