Thank you for including Michael Nesset’s beautifully written Sept. 16 commentary, “One man’s journey to reconcile reason and faith.” Separating life’s big questions into “how?” and “why?” is a fine way to reconcile reason and faith. I’ve often felt that reducing our existence here on Earth to be nothing more than a mechanism to pass our genetic blueprint on to the next generation is a bit shallow.
The stories in the Bible are myths, and like fairy tales for children, they hold lessons for the reader. Unfortunately a lot of those lessons, we now know, are very negative and inhumane. That’s why we need to cherry-pick.
I believe that pastors could do a lot of good at their Sunday sermons if they came out and said that some of the biblical stories are rubbish, pure and simple, instead of trying to twist those stories around to make them palatable. Like the story about Abraham being ready to sacrifice his own son to God — that’s downright scary! The pastor should say that this is a tale about a delusional almost-murderer who took his religion way too far. Today, we should know better than to follow some voice in our head, or some command from the local rabbi-priest-imam, telling us to do anything harmful to ourselves, our families or our neighbors.
John Crea, St. Paul
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It appears Mr. Nesset discovered the truth in Niels Bohr’s statement, “The opposite of a correct statement is a false statement. But the opposite of a profound truth may well be another profound truth.”
Niels Bohr won the 1922 Nobel Prize in Physics.
Anthony Harder, Woodbury
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Nesset did a wonderful job reviewing the age-old debate exploring creation and evolution, and likely stimulated many discussions among families and friends at their Sunday dinner tables. He explores beyond the dualistic thinking of arguing for either creation or evolution, to a third option involving both.
However, he makes no mention of the concept of intelligent design, which portrays an intelligent design creation over a random natural evolution. The complexity of the totality of the universe might consist of irreducible complexity where all parts are needed to work properly plus a specified complexity which requires intelligent design to work.
As a person of faith, I study the Old and New Testaments of the Bible and they support a deep mystery of creation that is likely way beyond human understanding. We simply can’t state with certainty the exact detail to the beginning of the universe and every subsequent phase leading to our current lives. It could be any of the above or something completely different, but I hope to find out in my next life’s journey.
Michael Tillemans, Minneapolis
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Nesset’s commentary intrigued me, perhaps because I, too, have my roots in a small orthodox Lutheran church body that believes the Bible in its original languages as the inerrant inspired word of God. Just the headline suggests to me that Nesset didn’t reconcile reason and faith; he gave up the faith. I find a much simpler reconciliation of reason and faith in 1 Corinthians 1:25: “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom … .” Humans are prone to error. God is not. If science “wisdom” teaches the Big Bang (which scientists cannot explain or know) and it contradicts the wisdom of God, there is no doubt as to who is wrong.
Yes, I know, Nesset explained the creation account as “myth.” But it should bother him that the Bible doesn’t treat it as myth. You can’t just brush off the Genesis account. The Bible is replete with references that treat the six-day creation as fact. So also the flood. Psalm 19:1: “The heavens declare the glory of God / The Skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Exodus 20:11: “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day.” Isaiah 40:26: “Lift up your eyes and look to the heavens: Who created all these? He who brings out the starry host one by one and calls forth each of them by name. Because of his great power and mighty strength, not one of them is missing.”
This doesn’t leave much room for a “myth” theory. It is as Peter said in his second letter: “But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.”
What Michael Nesset says is not new; unbelieving theologians have been saying what he says for a long time and it’s as wrong as it was when the truth was first denied by faithless people sporting “man’s wisdom.”
Thomas G. Koepsell, St. Paul
Sturdevant’s good journalism gives depth otherwise missing
Bravo, Lori Sturdevant, for your powerful, fact-based dissection (“Hyperbolic attack ads, anti-Radinovich edition,” Sept. 16) of the Republican Congressional Leadership Fund’s gutter tactics against U.S. House candidate Joe Radinovich in Minnesota’s Eighth District. Sturdevant makes clear that while the Republicans didn’t quite lie to voters, they certainly did intentionally mislead voters.
Sturdevant’s routinely excellent work is a journalistic jewel, exactly what we need and, we should remember, exactly what journalism can provide. It’s especially important during dark days such as these when, as Sturdevant points out, democracy is endangered at all levels and in numerous ways. It’s our responsibility as citizens to act on the information we’ve been given.
Steve Schild, Winona, Minn.
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I have to agree with Sturdevant’s column. The headline on the jump page — “The backlash we really need: Against attack ads” — says it all. I am tired of hearing how horrible some of the people running for office — any office — are. But we don’t hear who their opponent is and what they are going to do to help us, their constituents. Most of the time we don’t even learn who the opponent is. We just learn that we should not vote for so-and-so because they are a terrible person.
So, please, anyone running for office: Tell me what you are going to do about education, health care, the economy. I need to know what you stand for. Then I can make an educated decision about who I should vote for.
Christine Larson, Eagan
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No matter what your particular issue is or where your effort lies, unless we get money out of politics, you have little hope of affecting how your particular issue plays out. And you have little hope of affecting what democracy looks like going forward.
To that end, we should adopt six amendments to our Constitution:
1) Corporations are not people. A person is one human.
2) Money is not speech. Speech is what a human does to communicate.
3) Publicly funded political campaigns only. The only money that can be spent on or about a political campaign is the public funding given to a particular candidate.
4) Voting districts will be chosen by an independent commission working off census data. Districts should be the simplest geometric shape that divides population.
5) No negative campaigning by any entity. Only can talk about who you are and what you will do.
6) End that vestige of slavery, the Electoral College.
If we adopt these amendments, we will have the possibility of once again having statesmen (gender-inclusive) elected to our government beholden to us and not the highest bidder.
Bob Watson, Decorah, Iowa