Writer disagrees with editorial

Posted: Tuesday, April 03, 2007

You provided the following statement (Clarion editorial, March 9): “ In two days, we receive more than 30 letters. Some were angry with her. Some were angry with us. They said we should be ashamed of ourselves for printing it, and that we would never have done that if it were about blacks or Jews. They’re right, we wouldn’t have. However, to be an atheist, you make a conscious choice.”

I would just like to point out that not believing in a god or religion is not, as you say, a conscious choice. It just happens. Just as religion does. Most children grow up in a household and are exposed to religion at a young age. They take it as they see it and practice the religion as their parents do. They don’t usually make any effort to choose to believe -- it just happens. It’s usually futile to try to convince a religious person that god does not exist. They won’t have it, because their beliefs are already forged and deeply set. They’re not trying or deciding to believe, it mostly just happens.

So, take the person who does not believe in a god or religion and apply them to this situation. The same will happen. Their lack of belief isn’t necessarily a choice, but an automatic -- it just happens. It’s not like putting sugar in coffee where you say, “OK today I will believe and tomorrow I won’t.” It’s a deeply inset faith or lack of faith that causes a person to believe or not.

It shouldn’t be brushed off as you did, by labeling it a conscious choice. That’s a cop-out.

Robin Michel

Bayport, N.Y.

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