Letter to the Editor-A Different Perspective on Religion vs. Harry Potter

Mr. Robbins, I would like to respond to your September 26th article entitled, “Harry Potter vs. the Bible – illogical fantasy tales.” From its contents, such as ‘desert prophets and virgin births’, I gather your article was primarily directed toward Christianity.

In the article you characterize religion as having, “…a talent for inciting unfathomable amounts of suffering for human beings, without any substantial material benefits.” A core Christian belief is, “Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.” It is true that some Christians do not always act in accordance with this belief. This is not a failure of the religion itself, but of the individuals who fail to uphold its beliefs. Much good is accomplished by Christianity collectively: Christian hospitals, charities, and improvement of human rights to name a few. Additionally, you criticize religion for its lack of material benefits. All benefits in life are not material. Faith, hope, love, and kindness are immaterial, yet have great value. The focus of Christianity is not the material, but rather immaterial things, which do have great value.

Similarly, you say oppression of women and gay people is motivated by religion. Catholics, for example, believe all people are equal in dignity. In Galatians 3:28-29, Paul writes, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Catholics define the role of motherhood as a role for women and fatherhood as a role for men, but this is not discrimination. Biologically, women are identified as mothers and men as fathers. Likewise, in the Church women as nuns are spiritual mothers and men as priests are spiritual fathers. Regarding the oppression of gay people, in addition to the belief in loving your neighbor as yourself, I would point out that in the Catholic Catechism it says, “They do not choose their homosexual condition; They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided.”

Mr. Robbins, I speculate that if I did not believe in God I would still fervently disagree with what you said in your article, and more importantly – how you said it. When looking at Christian beliefs, I cannot find any support for your conclusion that religion is a threat to ‘our species’ survival’. To describe anyone’s beliefs as a “psychosis” or a “pathological illness” is to imply that because their beliefs are different from yours they ought to be cured of this illness, and ultimately made to follow your own belief system. Isn’t this as oppressive a view as could be conjured? I find this morally wrong without having to consider religion. Furthermore, isn’t this hurtful to individuals who genuinely suffer from conditions such as psychosis or pathological illness? Finally, to attack and demean another’s belief system within the same article you criticize it for being oppressive is a contradiction and hypocrisy.

Discussions of philosophy are excellent endeavors and should not be frowned upon. I enjoyed considering the ideas behind your article, Mr. Robbins, but the sarcastic nature of the remarks and the provocative language did not aid its reception. You claim to favor logic and rational discussion. However, effective rational and logical discussion cannot contain personally directed insults, sarcastic slander, or accusations without presenting facts. Please consider this, just as I have considered your points. I look forward to reading your work in the future.

-Tim McGreal

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