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THE BIG BANG
Reclaiming mystery from the idea of a god
I applaud David Pence for his assurance that materialists have no greater claim to the Big Bang than do Christians, but I wish he had broadened his argument to show the compatibility of science with all religions and with nonreligious belief in spiritual reality. I wish he had not referred to the Source of All That Is as a “he” and a “father.” Materialists can be forgiven for scoffing at religious belief that turns the Transcendent Mystery into a god.
I am a Catholic atheist — Catholic because it happens to be the way I was trained to relate to spiritual reality and atheist because I do not believe in a god. I reject the “father” form of theism.
Pence’s argument is weakened by limiting spiritual reality to the Christian story. God is not a god, and God is not three guys in the sky.
Jeanette Blonigen Clancy, Avon, Minn.
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I’m grateful for and agree with Pence’s reflection. However, his reference to the “pomposity of Carl Sagan” is unfortunate. I had the privilege of serving on a select committee of scientists, theologians and legislators in the early 1990s who looked at ways to address many of our environmental challenges. I found Sagan to be humble, approachable and completely open to the views of others, including Christian believers. When pressed on the question of faith, he stated that he had profound respect for believers, but needed more evidence before he himself could believe.
One incident is particularly instructive. Knowing that I am a master gardener, Sagan admitted to me one day that though he knew much about the universe, he could not distinguish a weed from a flower. Hardly the admission of a pompous scientist.
Herbert W. Chilstrom
St. Peter, Minn.
SIXTH DISTRICT VOTING
Letter writer was wrong to cite Stillwater
I was incensed when I read the Letter of the Day on April 27 unfairly attacking my city of Stillwater (“They vote Republican in the land of no diversity”). But I decided to check my facts before I replied. I have just spent the morning researching the history of each Stillwater precinct election return in the 2006 through 2012 races in the Sixth Congressional District. Rep. Michele Bachmann has never carried Stillwater — we knew better. And, by the way, most of Stillwater is now in the Fourth District.
Becci Dawson Cox, Stillwater
The Opinion section is produced by the Editorial Department to foster discussion about key issues. The Editorial Board represents the institutional voice of the Star Tribune and operates independently of the newsroom.