I kindly disagree with the Dec. 26 letter "The missed point: It's a logical progression in an age of science," regarding the Star Tribune series "Test of Faith: The Unchurching of America," and with the letter writer's assertion of "churches positing a belief in superstitious nonsense." While we as Christians cannot excuse the horrible injustices she cites as consequences of organized religion, of which there are far too many, one also cannot dismiss the accuracy of the life-affirming message of Jesus Christ to all.
One cannot unequivocally prove the existence of Christ or his mission on Earth. Nor can one absolutely and completely prove the role of faith to a non-Christian. However, the Gospels are among the most-studied and affirmed accurate ancient documents in history. I refer readers to scholarly and well-documented works such as "Lord or Legend? Wrestling with the Jesus Dilemma" by Gregory A. Boyd and Paul Rhodes Eddy, which systematically argues for the authenticity of the early Gospel witnesses to the life and actions of Christ, in a scientifically rigorous text.
I work as a family practitioner and apply science to my patient care. However, any health care professional can recall instances where science could not explain a particular outcome. In the same way, we cannot reduce our life experiences totally to scientific explanations.
My personal experience as a Lutheran in the congregations where I have worshiped is also filled with examples of social ministry that have affected thousands positively and touched lives of Christians and non-Christians throughout the world. This is true of many other Christian denominations as well, such as St. Paul's Dorothy Day Center, sponsored by the Catholic Church.
I invite readers to come to their own conclusions.
Dr. Sam Seltz, Afton
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The correspondent writing in reply to "The Unchurching of America" categorically states, "there is no God." I wish she could have been with us during World War II and heard the prayers offered up to God during times of imminent danger. There was no doubt in our minds that there was a God and that he heard us. I am one of the dwindling combat survivors of that war but I am sure that prayers just as fervent have been sent up in wars since. I have been blessed to see children and now great-grandchildren born. At conception, we were no larger than the period at the end of this sentence. And yet, from this tiny object, my heart has been beating faithfully for over 95 years. There are none so blind as those who want not to see.
Clarence Feltman, Waconia
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The Dec. 26 letter recounted the oft-repeated claim that religion is dying in the world (thanks to scientific discovery that somehow refutes religious faith). Turns out, though, the opposite is true; the world is actually getting more religious, not less.
According to a 2017 study by the Pew Research Center, the religious grouping that is expected to have the greatest relative loss of adherents by 2060 is actually those with no religious affiliation (next to Buddhists). The reason? The unaffiliated statistically have few children compared with those who have faith.
Believe it or not, the world has been here before. Religious belief is thought to have been at its lowest around the turn of 19th century, when anti-monarchical and atheistic revolutions capped off the Age of Enlightenment. But only a generation or so later, the Great Awakening and Christian revival movements slowly refilled the pews again. According to current demographic projections, this is far more likely to happen again in our time than a purported atheistic takeover.
Patrick Freese, St. Louis Park
Minnesota is close to being No. 2 — and that's a dubious distinction
The Dec. 25 article "State goes high(er) on the hogs," which notes that Minnesota is closing in on becoming the second-largest hog-producing state in the nation, did not mention anything about animal welfare — but how these animals are ultimately treated also needs to be considered. Confinement is one of the cruelest forms of animal abuse. Pigs are intelligent and for them to be crowded with hundreds of other pigs in one small area is unconscionable.
Pigs, like all farmed animals, are also not granted federal protection during their lives imprisoned on factory farms.
Minnesota, there is nothing to be proud of becoming No. 2 in hog production.
Ursula Pelka, Edina
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Thank you for showing pictures of hog-farming practices in the Dec. 25 paper. Because these pigs are inhumanely treated by living in such crowded conditions, with no room to move or lie down, I have made a New Year's resolution that I will definitely have no problem keeping: never again buying any pork products.
Judith Garrison, Brooklyn Park
There is, too, an imbalance
In reaction to the Dec. 27 counterpoint, "Bike lanes make things worse? No, for many, they make life better," I submit the accompanying photo with my response. This is a scene in Minneapolis that we look out upon day and night. Those white pole barriers have eliminated turning lanes in three directions and force all drivers to the absolute center of the intersection, where then they must make sharp, 90-degree turns. When a bus comes to the intersection, it must either run over the white pole barrier if there is traffic waiting in the direction the bus is turning, or wait until there is no oncoming traffic in order to maneuver the turn. And when two buses meet or a bus meets a truck, it would be comical if it weren't so ridiculous. As one can see in the photo, a couple of those white pole barriers are bent nearly 45 degrees — not a pretty picture.
There has also been an increase in driver frustration. There is more horn honking now than before these barriers went up. There are cars that deliberately run over the poles to turn. During rush-hour either morning or late afternoon, there is much more traffic noise from cars, trucks and buses, vehicles that are basically forced into an idling mode because the flow of traffic has been greatly impeded. And, adding to the congestion, this intersection is two blocks from the Guthrie Theater and three blocks from U.S. Bank Stadium. Just imagine the traffic jam when either of these institutions releases vehicles from parking lots, ramps and meters.
So I beg to differ with the writer of the counterpoint. Bikes have taken over, and consideration for bikes seems to outweigh all other modes of transportation. And at least in our neighborhood, we now have congestion, noise and an ugly scene to deal with daily. And when it snows, it is not a winter wonderland, to be sure.