I posted my own LTE to the Marietta Daily Journal (mdjonline.com) here awhile back. Today, two writers took issue with me (see below).
I would just respond to the Marietta newspaper, but I'm fairly sure that the paper (probably wisely) limits the amount of back-and-forth (ping-pong) among letter writers, so I'll just comment here.
First, I'm fairly sure people like Nelson Price (he doesn't deserve to be called "Dr." any more than I do) are eager to have people like me read his column, since he at least pretends his whole goal is not ego-gratification but is to proselytize and persuade. Those Christians who already agree with him seem unlikely to be his main targeted audience. If people like me just ignore apologists like him, he'd surely be deeply frustrated.
Second, people who actually read my LTE awhile back know that I never pretended that atheism "explains" violence or the human horrors done to other humans. And I certainly didn't claim that a god that I see no reason to think even exists was somehow behind or should have prevented the Texas church shootings. It reminds me of the famed cartoon of a professor-ish looking guy writing equations all over a blackboard until finally, at the bottom, he wrote "and then a miracle happened." I think we--humans--have come a long way in improving our understanding of why we do what we do but have a long way still to go. Adding in god-talk *obscures* knowledge; it doesn't add to it. Claiming that free will is"a fact" doesn't make it so, nor does it even remotely explain why two-year-old human beings sometimes die agonizing deaths from brain tumors (or a great deal more).
Third, I do solemnly pledge that when everyone--columnists or online commenters or other letter writers, etc.--collectively quits bringing up nonsense and claiming that there is a god and that they can speak for "Him" to me, I'll drop the subject. I hardly ever write or talk about, for example, Zeus or astrology or even the healing power of crystals, for similar reasons.
Fourth, isn't it crazy that those who claim to have unshakeable faith in a god choose to misrepresent those who don't pretend to any such faith. It always perplexes me and sometimes amuses me.
The "replies" to my LTE (another copy of my letter on request) published at the Marietta Daily Journal's website:
Mr. Ed Buckner pays way too close attention to Dr. Nelson Price, a man with whom he agrees with nothing. Mr. Buckner asked why God stood by when the Sutherland Springs shootings happened and did nothing to stop it or prevent it; and how Price could not/did not come to God’s defense on this tragedy.
The fact is, man has free will. The individual who commits these crimes chooses to do so, whether out of mental illness, evil or a combo of the two. The Creator has given humans their own brains to think or not think in making choices about everything they do. To consult and dig or not consult and go deep into the value system they may or may not have been taught.
Yes, free will is affected by upbringing and things people have been taught; good and also bad, unfortunately. But otherwise we would be robots. With free will, our choice reakly means something to us. This world is imperfect; it has sickness, evil, etc. It is not meant to be perfect.
I do believe, though, that even in the very midst of any tragedy, or in the recovery afterward, that people grow closer, and that there are things to be learned about how great God, the Higher Power, the Creator, whatever you prefer, planned for the human race to be resilient, compassionate and hopeful.
Crazy how those who don’t even believe in the existence of a Higher Power unequivocally bring God into the equation. It always perplexes me and sometimes amuses me.
Nancy Cheatham Brock
I would like to take issue with Ed Buckner’s recent comments regarding the Texas shooting. The root issue is that we are a fallen race and our sinfulness is magnified with and though others and by the enemy of our souls.
As a result, we can all be agents of evil and this may take many forms. God’s plan calls from the ultimate destruction of evil, and while we are moving toward that time, God offers us redemption; His presence in the lives of believers as they go through difficulties; and general blessings for all whether or not they are believers.
Atheists have no explanation why people perform these acts,even though some are educated and affluent, especially when, at the end, they die as well. Their position would need to be that these people felt threatened or were competing for food or mates. The atheistic macro-evolutionists need to realize that their position would normalize violence, or at least be not surprised by it.