LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Demonization of people’s beliefs has to be stopped

In response to Debbie Hilton’s letter to the Delaware State News Opinion page printed on 24 May [“Praying to the ‘right God’”], wherein she extended several congratulatory comments to another letter writer for that lady’s analysis of Islam [“Islam religion is tied with politics and military,” May 13], I am inclined to remark [that] both letters were skewed, although Ms. Hilton’s was self-admittedly less educated.

I was tempted at the time of the initial letter to throw my two cents’ worth into the matter, but I try to constrain myself in respect to people’s beliefs, inasmuch as our Constitution does allow for each of us to have our own faith, or not, as we so choose. However, as a reformed atheist, I never saw anything legally wrong with government-events sponsorship of prayer. I simply chose not to listen, or later, chose to figure they were praying to God as I have come to know God.

Indeed, I agree with Ms. Hilton in referring to Islam as a sect, but so are Christianity and Judaism. For some reason, some people believe “sect” is a dirty word. If she would read her Bible a little more closely, Ms. Hilton would discover that the world’s three great religions are related. Elohim (El) was Yahweh, who was Jehovah, who was Allah. God had many names, and interestingly, the one God can be traced back to Sumer. For someone who believes themselves religious, Ms. Hilton ought to know this.

I also agree with Ms. Hilton and others here that Islam, while being what I consider a religion, is indeed political, and many Muslim states have governments rife with its influence. Tell me what organized religion is not political? The laws of the United States are based upon early Jewish public law, which resembled Egyptian public law and other ancient governments since the dawn of writing; and in my search for God, I read a lot of dusty tomes.

When Ms. Hilton comments on adherents of Islam regarding Christians as infidels, ah, well, long we branded them heathens, pagans and worse. This demonization of people’s belief in intangibles has to stop, or it will lead to our self-annihilation. I think there is something in our DNA that is a little off-kilter in that regard. Having been an atheist, I also learned through personal experience what some philosophers have remarked upon, which is that disbelief is a system of belief. So, understand: we cannot escape what is hard-wired into us.

Regarding the evolution of religions, consider that the Judaism of the first century was considerably different from what it is today, and far afield of the Reformed Movement. Likewise, Christianity, inasmuch as its sects have divided over such hypocritical issues as slavery. It seems to me that there is a church for every sin, and the devil may be in the details. I suppose that is why I cannot be a practicing adherent. It amazes me how many Christians don’t understand exactly why the Jesus figure so infuriated the Jewish priestly hierarchy, or for that matter, how many Jews do not have a sound understanding of what they were “chosen” to do as God’s chosen people. (By the way, I think they did a bang-up job.) If people had a better understanding of ancient times, how their religions have evolved and exactly where they came from, I doubt there would be so many churches, mosques and temples.

People are inherently lazy; they’d rather be told something is true than seek the truth for themselves. Ah, but their truth does not necessarily belong to others; does that make it less than true? Remember, we are addressing intangibles. Maybe some people have been frightened into following the dictates of someone else, someone possibly unworthy of trust. As a U.S. citizen free to pursue these matters, my reward has been in a journey of discovery, whereas some impressionable, twisted and hopeless people have been misled to commit horrible crimes in the names of God.

The radical element of Islam is extremely dangerous, as are most fundamentalists of any cloth, and I will stridently resist any effort to infuse our republic with Islamic society’s more objectionable religious laws, or any other religion’s dogma, for that matter. If people would simply read on this fascinating topic, they would be better qualified to differentiate between the good and evil in themselves, as well as others, and thereby be aptly prepared to meet their maker. Ms. Hilton has a lot of reading to do.

Carol Hotte

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