Published by the Freedom From Religion Foundation, Inc. FFRF.org

Letterbox (Nov. 2019)

Vol. 36 No. 09 November 2019

Freethought Hall tour was great experience

Thanks for all you do. As a new member, I am happy to help support your work in underlining the First Amendment and helping people to think rationally for the benefit of humanity. When I found I had an opportunity to get to Freethought Hall, I didn’t know what to expect and wasn’t even sure if I would be let in the door, but Kristina [Daleiden, FFRF’s programs manager] was wonderful and I am so grateful for her tour of the building. And it was very exciting to meet [Co-Presidents] Annie Laurie Gaylor and Dan Barker. The whole experience was an hour of my life that will stay with me always.

Bob Scheidegger
Missouri


For a good retort, use quote from Cicero

While reading a biography of Cicero, I came upon the following quote from his book, The Laws: “Virtue is reason completely developed.” Isn’t that great? I think it’s the perfect comeback to people who insist  that humans can’t be good without the threat of eternal torment from an imaginary sky spook. On second thought, those people wouldn’t pay attention because Cicero was a (gasp!) pagan. What wisdom could he possibly impart?

Keep up the good work. The United States and the world need to be freed from religion more than ever.

Darlene Fouquet
Colorado


It is irrational to believe in any god

Belief in a god is fundamentally irrational.

It really isn’t difficult to show that there can exist no reason to suppose that any properties, including existence, of any god can be demonstrated. In particular, it should be stressed that the “god of the gaps” argument is fundamentally flawed. This argument is probably the one most used by apologists. Even National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins’ book The Language of God uses this fallacy twice — notwithstanding the fact that he recognizes in the book itself that it is fallacious.

Robert A. Saunders
California

Religion offers the most corrupt form of morality

My professional life as a clinical laboratory director has been dedicated to applying my scientific expertise to help others when medical crises arise, yet even in my profession I find precious few people with whom I can comfortably share my disdain for religion. Christianity represents a pathetic pack of lies, childhood brainwashing and indoctrination that is almost unassailable, the most corrupt form of morality (“Do what I say or else”) and its only value is in providing hope. Unfortunately, it is false hope.

Daniel T. Harvey
California


Life membership is dedicated to my parents

I’ve been an atheist my entire life, having been raised in a secular home. I joined FFRF as a member almost two years ago and really stand by the work you do keeping religion out of government and in pointing out all the harm that religion creates for humanity. Your organization is comprised of wonderful, rational thinking people and you are all my heroes. I’m deeply concerned about the rise of Christian nationalism in our country and the current administration’s role in that.

I am pleased to inform you that I have decided to become a Lifetime Member. I’m doing this in honor of my parents, Paul and Dawn Kummli, who are deceased. They provided an expansive, dogma-free, rational-thinking environment for my sister and me to grow up in.

Thank you, Annie Laurie Gaylor, for your role in starting and running this most important organization and thank you to all of your staff for all you do to save us from the wages of religion.

Konrad Kummli
Colorado


I learned that nothing succeeds like science

I grew up around the corner from a Christian Science church that my grandmother attended. For a few years, when I was ages 9 to 12, I went to that church to make her happy.

At a “Testimonial Meeting” one evening, a man got up and held his left arm high in the air. He said that a week earlier it had been cut off in an accident at his job. He told us he knew the truth about Mary Baker Eddy, and her book, Science and Health With Key to the Scriptures, and since we are all made in the image of God, there can be no error — like a missing arm. He told us his arm grew back. Everyone applauded.

I was impressed. As the session drew to a close, I realized I wanted to testify. With my 10-year-old heart pounding in my chest, I slowly rose to share my testimonial: “A week ago, I got a bad cold. I prayed and knew the truth from Mary Baker Eddy, and now my cold is all gone. I was cured.” Again, the elderly ladies applauded. Several of them came up afterwards to compliment me on my amazing story of healing. It was clear to me that prayer works!

A few years later in biology class, I found out about my immune system and its white blood cells. Apparently, that is what really did the job on my cold. So, what I learned is that prayer plus my immune system plus the white blood cells cured my cold. Hmmm? Guess the old ladies were feeding me a line of bull.

Rick Gilbert
California


The Darkening Age offers great lesson in history

I just finished The Darkening Age: The Christian Destruction of the Classical World by Catherine Nixey. I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

She describes in vivid detail how zealous fanatical Christians in the fourth, fifth and sixth centuries obliterated about 90 percent of the cultural legacy of the glorious Classical world: its literature, its science, its religion, its poetry, its history, its stage dramas, its philosophy, its art and its architecture. Maybe 10 percent of, as Edgar Allan Poe quipped, “the glory that was Greece and the grandeur that was Rome” survived the brutal onslaught of superstitious barbarians who sought to erase all traces of the “demonic pagan” world. Nixey is an engaging writer who has done her research and pulls no punches in her descriptions of the enormous crimes perpetrated in the name of Christianity once it became the only recognized religion in the Roman Empire. Among those crimes was the brutal murder of Hypatia, the brilliant Alexandrian mathematician and philosopher. Her horrific demise is described in harrowing detail. Sadly, as Nixey points out, she was far from the only great thinker to fall victim to the deranged acolytes of the cross.

Dennis Middlebrooks
New York

Editor’s note: This book can be purchased from FFRF’s shop at ffrf.org/shop.


Freethought Today makes the rounds in offices

I take Freethought Today (and other magazines and papers) with me in the car. When I’ve finished reading them, I leave them for others to enjoy in places such as the doctor’s office, the mechanic’s lobby, the dentist’s office. I especially like leaving them in government waiting rooms.

One day, I finished the paper at my doctor’s office, folded it so the “Freethought Today” was visible on the outside and put it into the rack with other reading material.

About two weeks later, I was at the Humanist Center for a meeting and a guy came up to me and said he was so thrilled because he had been in the same doctor’s office and went to get some reading material and there, staring him right in the face, was the Freethought Today! He eagerly grabbed it. He knew it was mine because I had forgotten to remove or obscure my name on the outside sheet! 

Dianne Post
Arizona


Do others think a cross is a secular symbol?

I, like many atheists, am disturbed by the Supreme Court’s decision that said the huge Maryland cross is a secular symbol. Therefore, I suggest we start asking those who wear a cross around their neck whether they wear it because it represents their secular values, like the Supreme Court seems to be saying. 

Douglas T. Hawes
Texas


Thank you so much for choosing me to be a recipient of the David Hudak essay scholarship. Your generosity has lightened my financial obligations, which allows me to focus better on my studies. I hope one day I can pay this kindness and consideration forward in the same way you have helped me.

Kathy Ho
Oklahoma

Editor’s note: Kathy earned an honorable mention in the 2019 David Hudak College Students of Color Essay Contest.


Thank you for the scholarship. I am sincerely touched and honored by your generosity. With your contribution toward my education, I am able to attend Rutgers University without significant financial stress. I am one step closer to achieving my goals and changing the world.

Madison “Matt” Mastriola
New Jersey

Editor’s note: Matt took seventh place in this year’s William Schulz High School Essay Contest.


Thank you so much for awarding me second place in the Brian Bolton Graduate College Essay Contest. I am truly honored for this recognition, as well as extremely grateful for the $3,000 prize. As a student, these funds are much appreciated and will help me continue my studies in gender equality.

Thank you all for the important work you do to defend democracy.

Barbara Alvarez
Wisconsin


Hotel offers bibles only to those who want them

I recently stayed at a Candlewood Suites hotel in La Crosse, Wis. This chain has a “closet” in the lobby where guests can borrow items such as crock pots and games for use during their stay. I was pleasantly surprised to see that guests can also borrow bibles. This is because there are no bibles in the rooms! What a great idea. I only wish all hotels would do this.

Dave Glenn
Wisconsin