Religion, science and government
Let’s start with two premises: God is the infinite and eternal totality of existence, and existence is the infinite and eternal totality of God. Logical reasoning would then conclude that God and existence are one and the same.
The definitions of “infinite” and “eternal” place God and existence beyond human comprehension. In this context, faith-based religion and knowledge-based science are two means developed by man for understanding that which ultimately cannot be comprehended.
Religion, unlike science, seeks to go beyond understanding. It prescribes “sacred” rules for human interactions that apply to the individual, the family and even to government. These rules are not always in harmony with those developed by such secular processes as democracy and representative government with individual rights. They may even conflict with the rules of secular nondemocratic governments. However, it is interesting to note that throughout most of the history of governments, religion has been a willing supporter of totalitarianism when that form of government served its interests.
Today the Western world is rightfully alarmed by radical convolutions of nondemocratic governments and religion. And even those convolutions that are not radical and not violent can pose a challenge for secular democratic governments that value individual rights. Which is more important: Your religious belief or my right to reject your belief?
EDDIE J. THOMAS
There’s a line from a jazz tune that sticks in my head. It goes like, “Half the people want to take over, the other half want to be free.”
Throughout history all that overly authoritarian governments have gotten us is war and suffering. And now we have the Topeka Taliban 2.0.
Those who claim there is no morality without religion assume too much. These people are fearmongers who lie, slander and deceive. Their attempts to hijack morality are a monstrous hypocrisy. When people say this is a Christian country, I wonder what that makes the rest of us.
Is there nothing better to do in Topeka than make a law that allows people to discriminate based on their beliefs? Beliefs are practiced, not imposed. I promise you, this one will hurt some of your kids.
Here’s another bummer from Topeka: There are people in Topeka who want to leave the world like an outhouse for the next generation and not allow it to build the infrastructure it will need to survive.
Roots in faith
Some years ago, my friend Rabbi Arthur Abrams, formerly of Temple Emanu-El, told this story about former Bishop Mark Carroll of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita. The bishop had been invited to the temple to speak, and he opened thusly: “You, family of Israel, are God’s chosen people, and don’t you ever forget it!” He endeared himself to them that moment.
All my life I have been puzzled by anti-Semitism, mainly because of what my bishop said. Yes, they are His chosen people, and we include their Scriptures in ours, reading them daily in our lives and worship. Even Muslims include the Hebrew Scriptures. So, incredibly, how can we not honor their revelations and people? It defies all reason.
St. Paul, a rabbi and a father of our Christian faith, called them “our roots.” The prophets and Jesus were persecuted, and so it continues. What should I do?
Send to a sanctuary
Instead of squandering millions of dollars to condemn more elephants to a zoo cage, send Stephanie to a sanctuary (Jan. 11 Local & State). There she can spend her years exploring acres of grasslands and woods, excavating mud wallows, discovering swimming holes and meeting new friends. The Sedgwick County Zoo could use that money to vastly improve conditions for all the other animals.
Elephants in captivity all over the world are paying with their health, their sanity and their lives to satisfy people’s desire to see them up close.
The zoo’s intention to pursue a breeding program is folly. Breeding elephants in captivity has been a colossal failure. For every elephant born in a zoo another two die, yet zoos continue to churn out more cash cows. No elephant that manages to survive will ever be released to the wild or contribute to easing the plight of its endangered brethren.
There’s still time to scrap this ill-conceived plan. Send Stephanie to a sanctuary.
Got kick out of note
Last week I received a thank-you note in the mail that had been written and addressed in 2010 and apparently unearthed just recently. A note said the wedding couple had just found the note. They couldn’t imagine why it hadn’t been sent and felt they should send it.
I got quite a kick out of it, as I had just read “Thank-you notes still expected, experts say” (Jan. 8 WichiTalk). I agree 100 percent with the importance of writing thank-you notes.
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